Central California Blood Center starts experimental treatment to fight COVID-19

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FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – The Central California Blood Center announced that they will be the first blood center in the United States to produce pathogen-reduced plasma from patients who have successfully recovered from the Coronavirus.

The Blood Center said people who recover from the Coronavirus infection have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood. 

The experimental treatment is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used on an emergency basis. 

Transfusing the plasma that contains the antibodies into a person still fighting the virus can provide a boost to the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover. 

“We look forward to being able to safely collect, process and pathogen-reduce these plasma donations, by following approved FDA guidance, OSHA safety standards and the very latest scientific evidence suggesting this could save lives, we’re looking to make rapid progress through approved research and specially FDA emergency-authorized use to fight against COVID-19.” 

Christopher Staub, President and CEO of the Central California Blood Center

The Central California Blood Center said they are working closely with Cerus Corporation, the Fresno County Department of Health and local hospitals to identify people who have recovered from COVID-19 to be potential donors. 

According to the Blood Bank, these potential donors will need to meet all standard FDA blood donation requirements, plus pass additional FDA criteria, including: 

● COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood.

● Required testing must be performed and the donation must be found suitable 

● Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test.

● Complete resolution of symptoms throughout at least 14 days prior to donation and having a negative test for the virus post recovery. 

● As with all transfusions, the donor and the patient will need to have compatible blood types 

● Physicians wanting this product as it becomes available can join an established investigational protocol, approved by FDA or apply directly to FDA for Emergency Use Authorization. 

Local hospitals and medical professionals should connect with the Fresno County Department of Public Health with any referrals to safe donors.

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