Jerry Hall was the first reported patient to contract COVID-19 in Fresno, and is the first to donate plasma for a possible treatment for other patients. Photo via Central California Blood Center

published on April 17, 2020 - 12:59 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Central California Blood Center announced Friday it has collected blood plasma from its first donor who has recovered from COVID-19.

The Fresno-based organization recently announced it was the first blood center in the U.S. to produce pathogen-reduced plasma from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 as a treatment for hospital patients currently battling the disease.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the experimental treatment is meant for emergency situations.

Jerry Hall was the first diagnosed COVID-19 case in Fresno, acquiring it from the Princess Grand cruise ship, according to a news release from the blood center. Hall has been symptom-free for more than 28 days. His donation will be split into three to four patient doses.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma of their blood. Transfusing that plasma to a person still fighting the new coronavirus can provide a boost to their immune system and possibly help the patient recover.

The Central California Blood Center is working with Cerus Corp., the Fresno County Department of Health and local hospitals to identify those who have recovered from COVID-19 to begin collecting plasma from qualified donors.

Those wishing to donate will need to meet all standard FDA blood donation requirements, and additional FDA criteria including:

  • — COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood
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  • — Required testing must be performed and the donation must be found suitable
  • — Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test,
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  • — Complete resolution of symptoms throughout at least 14 days prior to donation and having a negative test for the virus post recovery
  •  
  • — The donor and patient will need to have compatible blood types

Physicians wanting the product as it becomes available can join an established investigational protocol, approved by the FDA, or apply directly to FDA for Emergency Use Authorization.


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