Convalescent Plasma from Recovered COVID-19 Patients

Stanford Blood Center is in the process of working with Stanford Medicine to establish a convalescent plasma program. This exciting initiative involves taking plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients and transfusing that plasma into critically ill COVID-19 patients in the hopes that the antibodies present in the donated plasma will help save the lives of the recipients.

We recommend reading the FAQs below as well as the related press release from America’s Blood Centers. If you would like to see if you are eligible to participate, please click the button below to answer a few questions that will help us determine if you are a candidate.

How can I sign up to participate?

Thank you for your interest! You can fill out the form to apply to donate convalescent plasma. Please note that additional follow-up may be needed after you have filled out the form. Due to the high level of interest we’ve received thus far, we will reach out to you if you are a potential candidate. If you have questions or need additional support, please reach out to specialdonations@stanford.edu or call 650-723-6667.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Convalescent Plasma

The FDA recently approved a process that allows individuals who have already recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma for patients who are ill from COVID-19, in the hopes that the recovered patients’ antibodies will help the current patients fight off the virus.

While preliminary results of convalescent plasma transfusions have been promising, it is not guaranteed that these transfusions will work consistently just yet. Multiple large academic centers in the U.S., including Stanford Medicine, are preparing to implement clinical trials, which are needed to determine the effectiveness of this treatment. The COVID-19 outbreak has been unprecedented in many ways, and right now our healthcare system is working as quickly as possible to adapt and use the most effective methods we have at our disposal to save the most lives. We are hopeful that convalescent plasma will improve the clinical outcome of patients with COVID-19.

The process for collecting convalescent plasma is the same as a regular apheresis plasma collection, though these collections will primarily take place at our Palo Alto location (3373 Hillview Avenue). Those who are interested in donating will be contacted by our Special Donations team, who will confirm that they qualify for donation and, if so, will schedule them for an appointment. Since plasma donations are a type of automated blood collection, the donation process will involve the use of a special machine that draws whole blood, retains plasma (the volume collected depends on the donor’s weight), and returns the rest of the blood products back to the donor. In this way, we can ensure we are collecting the most of what patients really need. Plasma donations typically take one to two hours.

According to the AABB and FDA guidelines, prospective donors must meet the following criteria:

  • Have had a positive test for COVID-19 or have lab evidence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (once antibody testing is available).
  • Have been recovered and symptom-free for at least 14 days.
    • If only symptom-free for 14-28 days, donors will be asked to retake a COVID-19 test at no cost to the donor. This repeat test must be negative to be eligible to donate.
    • If symptom free for 28 days or more, a negative COVID-19 test is NOT required.
  • Meet our usual blood donor eligibility requirements, which can be found at stanfordbloodcenter.org/eligibility.

Convalescent plasma donors must have a negative COVID-19 test or be 28 days or more symptom free in order to be eligible to donate which decreases the risk of possible exposure to the virus.  In addition, to maximize safety, convalescent plasma collections will be performed by a small team of designated staff in a dedicated room at our Palo Alto site, which is separate from our primary donor collection areas.

We recommend reviewing America’s Blood Centers’ donation site locator, which allows you to conveniently search center locations by zip code. We encourage you to prioritize community blood centers as much as possible since they have a direct connection to local patients. Note that eligibility requirements may vary by donation site, so you should call ahead and discuss plasma donation with the center you choose.

Yes, plasma is transfused to patients based on blood type, so we categorize plasma as type A, B, O or AB. Since type AB is universal plasma, meaning it can be transfused to any patient, we are especially always on the lookout for more plasma donors with AB- or AB+ blood type!

For current information about SBC’s COVID-19 response, please visit stanfordbloodcenter.org/covid-19.

FOR HOSPITALS AND BLOOD CENTERS: CONVALESCENT PLASMA ORDERING

At this time, we are working to provide COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) to healthcare institutions that have patients in need; however, we are limited in terms of the amount of CCP available. We are ramping up collections and distributing CCP as quickly as possible based on the availability of product. If you would like to order plasma to support a specific patient at this time, we invite you to fill out the below order form and fax it to 650-724-5304. A member of our team will follow up with you to determine if we are able to provide CCP.

If you would be willing to share information on our program with potential CCP donors in your hospital system (meaning those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or its SARS-CoV-2 antibodies), thereby increasing the amount of plasma we are able to collect and distribute for patients, we would greatly appreciate your support! See the below flyer about Stanford Blood Center’s CCP Program.

Convalescent Plasma Flier Image