Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center seeking COVID-19 plasma donors

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The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is asking for recovered patients of COVID-19, the coronavirus to donate convalescent plasma for research.

“Recovering from COVID-19 is an amazing feat in itself,” said Theresa Pina, vice president of operations. “However, the ability to donate your life-saving convalescent plasma to save someone critically ill with COVID-19 is what community is all about. You have the ability to make a difference. All you need to do is decide to do it. When you do, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center will be here.”

The antibodies present in convalescent plasma are proteins that might help others fight the infection, a press release from the blood center states. While no approved treatment for COVID-19 currently exists, there is some information that suggests this plasma might help some patients recover, the release states.

Katy resident Cheryl Henderson was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March. She was one of the first to donate her convalescent plasma.

“There are some people worse off than me,” she said, adding that others need to take the disease seriously. “If my blood can save lives, I’ll help because there are too many people dying.”

Donors must meet the blood center’s general eligibility requirements for donating blood and have had a positive laboratory test for COVID-19 and have been recovered with no symptoms for at least 28 days or be recovered for 14 days with a second test showing a negative result.

Some hospitals are participating in the program led by the Mayo Clinic to help collect test and process the plasma. Partners include the Baylor College of Medicine with CHI St. Luke’s Health in the Medical Center and UTHealth with Memorial Hermann.

Lufkin’s CHI location is not currently participating in the program, marketing director Tina Alexander-Sellers said.

Kellye Moran, media coordinator with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, invited East Texans to fill out a questionnaire, and someone will be sent to the region to help collect.

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