ORANGE PARK – HCA Healthcare’s Orange Park Medical Center announced Wednesday it is participating in a national study to determine if plasma from convalescent, or recovered, COVID-19 patients may benefit individuals currently hospitalized with severe or life-threatening cases of the virus. As part of the effort, the hospitals are seeking eligible volunteers from our area to donate plasma to help current patients in need.
“It’s important to remember that although an individual has had COVID-19 and recovered, they may be less vulnerable than someone who has not been infected, but they should still follow the recommended precautions such as handwashing and social distancing,” said Dr. Bradley Shumaker, Chief Medical Officer at Orange Park Medical Center.
To date, there is no proven therapy for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, but there is a long history of successful viral infection treatment using convalescent plasma. After someone is infected with a virus like COVID-19 and recovers, their blood contains antibodies that their immune system produced to help them fight off the virus. By infusing this plasma into patients who are facing severe cases of COVID-19, their immune system might more effectively be able to fight the virus. Recent examples of this approach have occurred during outbreaks of coronaviruses like SARS-1, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), but additional clinical data – and more plasma donations – are needed to determine efficacy in treating COVID-19.
The success of the study hinges on the continued collection of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. People who tested positive for COVID-19 and have since tested negative can help by donating plasma through our community blood partner, www.LifeSouth.org. To find out more about the donation process, eligibility and locations to donate in Jacksonville, please call our dedicated COVID-19 Plasma Phone Line at (833) 582-1971.
Orange Park Medical Center is one out of 172 hospitals participating from the HCA Healthcare network. HCA Healthcare, along with its Sarah Cannon Research Institute, is leveraging its clinical research capabilities and national hospital network to quickly expand collection and testing for this study, which is being led by the Mayo Clinic and supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.