MemorialCare announced today that its four hospitals are participants in the U.S. Government-supported national Expanded Access Program to issue convalescent plasma to severe or life-threatening COVID-19 patients.
The four hospitals include MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center, Miller Children and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, and MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills.
The four hospitals have administered 17 plasma transfusions as of time of publishing.
According to a press release from MemorialCare, the convalescent plasma has been collected from patients who recovered from COVID-19 with hopes that the blood product will have antibodies to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2).
With the intent to help patients fight off the infection, the plasma will be transfused into those who have the disease in order to provide them with antibodies.
The press release states that similar methods have been used to treat other diseases caused by viruses and have proven beneficial.
The program consists of treatment and collection components.
According to the press release, the participating centers are identifying current patients who meet the inclusion criteria to receive the treatment and are also contacting patients who have recovered to enlist plasma donors.
The MemorialCare hospitals’ supply of convalescent plasma for this specific program is currently being provided through the San Diego Blood Bank and potential donors are being directed there for collection.
The research team is led by Emanuel Ferro, MD, pathologist and director of the Blood Bank, Donor Center, and Transfusion Medicine at Long Beach Medical Center, the MemorialCare.
According to the press release, the team is excited and cautiously optimistic about what could be the potential benefits of this therapy method and are collecting data for the program.
“The use of convalescent plasma from patients that have recovered from other types of infections can sometimes be lifesaving. Our hope is that the transfusion of plasma from patients that have recovered from COVID-19 infection may provide an additional valuable therapeutic option for our patients,” says Dr. Ferro.
“There is no doubt that nationwide, the medical community is working hard to develop evidence-based SARS-COV-2 treatment solutions,adds David Michalik, DO, pediatric infectious disease specialist at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “I am proud that my hospital is a part of this endeavor.”
Michalik continued, “Convalescent plasma has gained considerable traction as a treatment option in SARS-COV-2 infected patients. I remain hopeful that studies will show its use can improve outcomes for those fighting this infection.”
For more information about the Expanded Access Program, please visit: http://www.uscovidplasma.org.
If you have been infected with SARS-COV-2 and wish to donate plasma, please visit: http://www.sandiegobloodbank.org/covid-19-and-convalescent-plasma-donation