Stanford Blood Center begins collecting convalescent plasma donations to help treat COVID-19 patients

April 7, 2020
Attention Media Release (for immediate release)
Ross Coyle | 650-725-3804

STANFORD, Calif. — As part of the ongoing efforts to treat patients with COVID-19, Stanford Blood Center (SBC) will begin convalescent plasma collections from potential donors to help support patients battling COVID-19. The new investigational treatment recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be used by hospitals initially for critically ill patients and later also in the setting of clinical trials in patients in different stages of the disease.

SBC will be working with Stanford Medicine on this new initiative that involves taking plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients and transfusing that plasma into COVID-19 patients in hopes that the antibodies in the donated plasma will help save the lives of the recipients.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has been unprecedented in many ways and, currently, there is no proven treatments for the virus. One possible treatment being studied is convalescent plasma, which is collected from individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” said Dr. Suchi Pandey, Chief Medical Officer at Stanford Blood Center. “These antibodies, when transfused into a patient ill with COVID-19, may be effective against the infection and help improve the patient’s clinical outcome.”

In order to be eligible to donate convalescent plasma, prospective donors must meet the following requirements:

  • 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 org/eligibility.

The process for collecting convalescent plasma will be a standard apheresis plasma donation, which takes about one to two hours. Convalescent plasma collections will primarily occur at our Palo Alto headquarters (3373 Hillview Avenue). Since these special donations are a type of automated blood collection, the donation process will involve the use of a machine that draws whole blood, retains plasma, and returns the rest of the blood products back to the donor. This process ensures that we are collecting the most of what patients really need. SBC is taking a precautionary approach to these special donations to maximize safety. Dr. Pandey added, “Convalescent plasma collections will be performed by a small team of designated staff in a dedicated room at our Palo Alto site.”



About Stanford Blood Center

Stanford Blood Center (SBC) is an independent, community blood center that supplies blood products and testing services to multiple Bay Area hospitals and is a recognized leader in the fields of transfusion and transplantation medicine. SBC was created at the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1978 to meet the complex transfusion and transplant needs of Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, as well as provide clinical trial services and specialized blood products for researchers. Today, the center remains locally focused, serving community hospitals, patients and donors, while contributing to research and advancement that impact the world at large. More information is available at