RWJBARNABAS HEALTH is seeking convalescent plasma donations from those who have fully recovered from Covid-19. The blood plasma collected is used in the treatment of patients currently infected with the virus. The convalescent plasma is transfused into patients who match the stringent criteria and who have serious or immediately life-threatening Covid-19 infections.
All RWJBarnabas Health acute care hospitals, and select patients, are participating in the Mayo Clinic’s clinical trial. The hospitals do not collect convalescent plasma. Instead, the plasma is obtained from the blood banks with which RWJBarnabas Health has contracts — the American Red Cross and the New York Blood Center. Requests that donations be directed to a specific patient are not being accepted at this time.
On March 25, the Food and Drug Administration authorized compassionate use of convalescent plasma for patients infected with the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease. The effectiveness of such treatments has not yet been proven in treating Covid-19 and the convalescent plasma therapy remains an experimental procedure. The limiting factors to this procedure include the amount of product available due to low levels of antibodies, the need to match convalescent plasma to a patient’s blood type — the same as any blood product — and the two-week wait for donors to test negative after recovering from the virus.