27 April 2020
Local hospitals, Medical Society partner with blood center to collect plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients

Antibodies in plasma of COVID-19 survivors could help current patients

Two east Texans that survived COVID-19 were the first in the area to donate their convalescent plasma with Carter BloodCare’s East Texas operation Thursday, April 23rd.  Plasma collected from recently recovered individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 is being used as an experimental treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients who are not responding to other medical interventions. Carter BloodCare is working with doctors, hospitals and the Smith County Medical Society (SCMS) to encourage individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, to register as potential convalescent plasma donors so that more patients can have access to the investigational treatment.  

       The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in late March that it would allow doctors to explore the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in treating the virus. It is possible that convalescent plasma that contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) might be effective against the infection.  This is a treatment being allowed under the FDA’s Emergency Investigational New Drug (eIND) guidance.
       “We started partnering with Carter BloodCare very early in this outbreak to prepare our physicians to identify and refer their patients for this program,” said Dr. Mike McCrady, SCMS president. “Our recovered patients are eager for a way to contribute something to help in this difficult time. Additionally, office-based and hospital doctors all have a role to play in helping to develop and test new innovative treatments. We are glad our medical society can provide a helpful role.”
       Carter BloodCare is collecting the plasma from recovered COVID-19 individuals on designated buses – one in East Texas and three in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. At least 50 people have donated, resulting in more than 150 doses of the convalescent plasma, for patients.
       Survivors of COVID-19 who are interested in donating plasma must be able to present  documentation of a previous positive test for the virus and be recovered from the illness. The exact guidelines can be found on the Carter BloodCare web site, along with the registration form. Donors may not present to give at a donation center or a blood drive to donate for this program.  The blood center will determine the donors’ eligibility and then schedule the appointments.   

About Smith County Medical Society
Smith Co. Medical Society is the professional association for physicians in the Tyler / Smith Co. area.  The mission of the Smith County Medical Society is to unite and empower physicians to promote the health of all residents in the area and to encourage high standards of medical professionalism.
Established as a component county society of the Texas Medical Association, SCMS has been a force for good in our community, with members aligned as trusted colleagues and patient advocates for almost 120 years.
Contact: Angela H. Driggs - Executive Director Smith County Medical Society
903.593.7058/ cell 903.245.1351; adriggs@smithcomed.org

About Carter BloodCare
Carter BloodCare is an independent, community blood center providing transfusion resources to more than 180 medical facilities in 50-plus counties of north, central and east Texas. The non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization is one of the largest blood programs in Texas, delivering more than 450,000 blood products annually to meet hospitals’ requirements for their patients. Services include collection, processing, specialized laboratory testing, storage and distribution of blood and blood products.