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Versiti Blood Center creates hotline for Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program

Versiti Blood Center creates hotline for Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program

The recently announced Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program is seeking recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma, and Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin has created a hotline to help qualified individuals register with ease.

Through the Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program, individuals with severe cases of COVID-19 will be given a transfusion of plasma, obtained from an individual formerly infected with the virus, in hopes that the virus-attacking antibodies of the protein will aid in recovery.

Among the 40 institutions given official designation for the program is Mayo Clinic in Rochester, which, along with Mayo Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health Systems in La Crosse, is supplied with blood through Versiti, an organization among the first nationally to collect plasma samples from previous COVID-19 patients for treatment purposes.

To qualify to donate plasma for the program, an individual must have had a positive COVID-19 test and been symptom free for at least 14 days with a subsequent negative test, or asymptomatic for 28 days without a follow up test. The donation process takes about a half hour and must be completed at a qualified Versiti or Red Cross location.

“One plasma donation can be divided to treat multiple patients,” says Versiti senior medical director Dan Waxman. “And one patient may require more than one plasma transfusion.”

The antibodies extracted from the donated plasma, approved by the FDA as an Emergency Investigational New Drug, will be reserved for COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in critical condition, with the approval of their family. As partner hospitals, both Mayo Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System will be eligible to receive and utilize the plasma for local patients with the virus.

Potential donors for the Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program should call 1-866-702-HOPE (866-702-4673) or visit versiti.org/covid19plasma.

Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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