The need is growing for donations of convalescent plasma, an experimental treatment for COVID-19, as hospitalizations for patients with the disease continue to increase throughout Georgia. Piedmont Healthcare is participating in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded access program that involves the donation of plasma, the liquid portion of the blood, from COVID-19 survivors to those currently suffering from the disease. This national effort is led by May Clinic but regional efforts such as that driven by Piedmont are key for success. Recovered COVID-19 patients in Georgia are encouraged to learn more about donating their plasma.
What is Convalescent Plasma
According to the FDA, the plasma of people who have recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies, the proteins that fight infections, that helped to fight off the virus when they were sick. Those antibodies may, in turn, help others to recover from the disease.
Study Results Thus Far
The national expanded access program has produced results. Last month, for example, Mayo Clinic reported that the investigators have found that investigational convalescent plasma is safe following transfusion in a diverse group of 20,000 patients. The findings are reported in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Note that Piedmont is participating in this program and that the actual program ongoing is run by Mayo Clinic. Piedmont will report data up to Mayo in Minnesota.
Red Cross the Collection Agency for Piedmont
The Red Cross is one organization that is receiving donations of plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 and then donating them to Piedmont patients who are part of the program. This program is available at all Piedmont 2.
“We encourage people who have recovered from COVID-19, if they are eligible and able, to please consider a plasma donation,” said Amy Hajari Case, Piedmont’s Medical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Research.
Expanded access programs, sometimes called “compassionate use,” represent a process by which patients with immediately life-threatening conditions or a serious disease can gain access to an investigational medical product for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or alternative therapy options are available.
About Piedmont Healthcare
Piedmont Healthcare empowers communities to connect with safe and high-quality care, conveniently, every step of the way. Our promise is to make a positive difference in every life we touch and today we are creating a destination known for the best clinicians and a safe one-of-a-kind experience that always puts patients first. Founded in 1905, we are a private, not-for-profit organization with over 23,000 employees caring for 2.7 million patients across 800 locations and serving communities that comprise 70 percent of Georgia’s population. Piedmont provides safe, convenient and high-quality care across 11 hospitals, 34 Piedmont Urgent Care centers, 25 QuickCare locations, 555 Piedmont Clinic physician practice locations and more than 2,500 Piedmont Clinic members. In 2019, Forbes listed us as one of the Top10 Employers in Georgia, Piedmont became Great Place to Work-Certified™, which was repeated in 2020. In FY 2019, Piedmont provided $340 million in uncompensated care and community benefit programming to the communities we serve.
Amy Hajari Case, Piedmont’s Medical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Research
Call to Action: If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are in Georgia, consider contacting the Red Cross to learn more about how to donate convalescent plasma. See the following link: RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid