OBI seeing increase in hospital requests for convalescent plasma to treat patients suffering severe symptoms of COVID-19

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the number of COVID-19 cases rises in the state, Oklahoma Blood Institute is seeing an increase in hospital requests for convalescent plasma to treat patients suffering severe symptoms of the virus.

As a result, OBI is streamlining its requirements by allowing donors who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies to donate sooner and more frequently. Donors can now give convalescent plasma seven days following a whole blood donation, and every seven days thereafter. More frequent plasma donations do not pose health risks and will help boost low inventories of this much needed treatment, says OBI.

“Those who have recovered from COVID-19, or who have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, are absolutely critical in the battle against this virus,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of OBI. “So far, Oklahoma Blood Institute has distributed more than 600 units of convalescent plasma to 50 hospitals, and that need continues to grow as physicians increasingly rely on this therapy as a preferred way to treat patients fighting for their lives.”

As a course of treatment, convalescent plasma has increased survival rate of COVID-19 patients by 25%, according to a study from New York. That same study showed patients who received convalescent plasma required less oxygen support two weeks following treatment. 

OBI is testing every blood donation for COVID-19 antibodies, if the donor is eighteen or older and wants to be screened. Donors will be notified of their antibody test result and given the opportunity to donate convalescent plasma.

Potential convalescent plasma donors must sign up for the statewide plasma registry at this link. Registering will prompt follow-up contact for scheduling those who are willing and able to donate. Once qualified, donors can give plasma, providing up to three therapeutic doses per collection for critically ill patients.

Donors would not only being giving convalescent plasma to patients being treated at member hospitals, but also for patients at the few facilities OBI does not routinely serve, including Hillcrest Medical Center and Hillcrest South in Tulsa.

“Extending the lifesaving reach of our donors to make sure all Oklahoma’s patients and providers have rapid access to this vital type of transfusion is another expression of the Oklahoma Standard that Oklahoma Blood Institute is proud to empower,” said Armitage. “By safely reducing the number of days donors must wait between donations, we will best ensure that Oklahoma Blood Institute is able to meet the treatment needs of the sickest patients across the state.”

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