MEDIC Plasma collections, COVID-19-related, to begin next week: Watkins

Information on COVID Convalescent Plasma collections for our area is from Tom Watkins, Chief Medical officer MEDIC Regional Blood Center.

Convalescent plasma treatment is the transfusion of plasma from someone who has recovered from an infection to someone suffering from it, in the hopes that the passive transfer of antibodies will help the patient fight off the infection.

MEDIC anticipates collecting COVID Convalescent Plasma beginning next week.

To donate:

• An individual must have had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis via confirmed lab test to be eligible to donate.

MEDIC will not be collecting convalescent plasma from community members who may have had a previous infection and believe that they had COVID-19 earlier this year or late last year.

Potential donors must be symptom-free for at least 14 days prior to donation and with a follow-up, verified negative COVID-19 lab test results to qualify to donate.

• MEDIC is not a healthcare provider and thus does not provide a coronavirus test nor do we test for COVID-19 antibodies. There is no blood center testing that MEDIC can do to confirm immunity to COVID-19 from an unknown past infection.

• MEDIC can collect COVID Convalescent Plasma through Plasmapheresis or through whole blood donation. The donation type will be determined when the appointment is scheduled.

During Plasmapheresis, plasma and red cells are separated and plasma is collected for transfusions.

The entire process takes about 25 minutes longer than a regular whole blood donation and is performed using the same process as a double red donation.

The only difference is instead of keeping red cells and returning plasma to the donor, the machine collects plasma and returns red blood cells to the donor.

All donors will need to have their healthcare provider complete the attestation form, return that to MEDIC, undergo an initial pre-screening, and once confirmed as a potential donor will be allowed to donate by appointment-only.

Anyone who would like to be considered for donating COVID Convalescent Plasma can go to to complete initial forms for consideration or call 865-521-2684.

MEDIC is not affiliated with the American Red Cross. Blood and blood products collected by MEDIC are distributed to our 25 regional hospitals.