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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky Blood Center is partnering with local hospitals to collect and distribute convalescent plasma from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
While COVID-19 currently has no proven treatment, it is possible that convalescent plasma, a component of blood from patients who have recovered from COVID-19, may provide antibodies to fight the virus. Individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 may be eligible to donate 14-28 days after complete resolution of their symptoms.
"Kentucky Blood Center is thrilled to be able to assist our hospital partners throughout the state in this cutting-edge medical treatment," said Kentucky Blood Center CEO Bill Reed. "Lifesaving is our business and we hope that this treatment option proves to be a new tool in the fight to save COVID-19 patients in Kentucky."
KBC has already begun collecting and distributing convalescent plasma and is expanding the capacity to do even more in the coming weeks. The first donation from a recovered Kentucky patient occurred Sunday, March 28 at Kentucky Blood Center’s Lexington headquarters and was transfused to two different patients at Baptist Health Lexington. Kentucky Blood Center has established an online registry form where recovered COVID-19 patients can express their interest in being a donor. The form is available here.
“As cases are expected to peak in the coming weeks, the Kentucky Blood Center critically needs more convalescent donors to start building a plasma supply and stay ahead of the need,” said Williams. “If you had a positive COVID-19 test and your symptoms have been gone for more than two weeks, you can take part in this potentially life-saving new way to address the coronavirus - and help fellow Kentuckians in need.”
Potential donors will need documentation of their positive COVID-19 test. A patient may then be able to donate if they have been symptom-free for at least 14 days and a second COVID-19 test has negative results. KBC will work with the donor to obtain the second test if it has not already been completed. The donor will complete the blood donation health history questionnaire on the day of donation to qualify for blood donation. The plasma donation itself takes 1-2 hours.
Kentucky Blood Center has extended expanded hours at all six of its donor centers until May 1. New hours are 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturdays to better accommodate those wishing to donate blood. KBC has two locations in the Louisville area, including Middletown and Hillview.
Appointments are strongly encouraged to facilitate social distancing. Donors can make an appointment online by visiting kybloodcenter.org and selecting the donor center they would like to visit. Appointments can also be made by calling 800-775-2522. Additionally, donors are encouraged to complete their health history screening questions online on the day of their appointment using QuickPass at kybloodcenter.org. This gives the donor a chance to complete a step, which would normally happen at the donor center or mobile blood drive, prior to leaving home or work.
KBC is monitoring information and recommendations about Coronavirus and is taking additional steps as required.
Celebrating more than 50 years of saving lives in Kentucky, KBC is the largest independent, full-service, nonprofit blood center in Kentucky. Licensed by the FDA, KBC’s sole purpose is to collect, process and distribute blood for patients in Kentucky. KBC provides services in 90 Kentucky counties and has donor centers in Lexington, Louisville, Pikeville and Somerset.