OLOL 'encouraged' by convalescent plasma treatment; looking for more donors
BATON ROUGE - Weeks after announcing it would participate in a convalescent plasma program, Our Lady of the Lake has treated more than a dozen patients. The program, led by the Mayo Clinic, is in its early stages, but doctors are already starting to notice positive signs.
"We're encouraged by what we're seeing," Dr. Vince Cataldo, the program's physician leader, said. "We're having a significant number of discharges from the hospital in the patients who have been treated. As of right now, we've already treated 16 patients with convalescent plasma in only approximately a three-week period."
The expectation at Our Lady of the Lake is to be able to treat many more patients hospitalized with COVID-19 with dozens of recovered patients lining up to donate their plasma.
"We've identified at least 60 donors who are willing to donate over the next coming one to two weeks," Cataldo said. "So, we believe that our supply of convalescent plasma is about to become much more readily available."
Original FDA guidelines said a patient recovering from COVID-19 had to be 28-days symptom-free to donate convalescent plasma. Those guidelines have since been relaxed, making more donors eligible to potentially donate.
"Now, it's 14 days from recovery of symptoms of COVID19 to be considered a healthy donor of convalescent plasma," Cataldo said. "That has really opened up the ability of us to obtain convalescent plasma."
Even with a significant amount of people scheduled to donate, in addition to a healthy stock of convalescent plasma in storage, OLOL is still looking for more recovered patients to donate. This allows for the hospital to continue providing the program to the more serious COVID-19 patients.
"We don't know what the future of COVID-19 infection looks like," Cataldo said. "So, there's always a potential, although our numbers are dropping right now, that we will see a resurgence of it. Whether it's now as the state begins to reopen, or if it's in the future."
Information for Plasma Donors
COVID-19 convalescent plasma can only be donated by someone who is otherwise eligible to donate blood.
Donors must present identification and will be required to bring proof of a positive COVID-19 test result.
All donors are asked to eat well and adequately hydrate before and after donation.
Click here for additional details related to the convalescent plasma program.
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