Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Upson Regional Medical Center is pleased to announce it has been approved for participation in a research study to help in the fight against COVID-19. The sponsor of this study is the Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit academic medical center based in Rochester, Minnesota. Focus of this research is on the therapeutic value of convalescent plasma to treat severe cases of COVID-19 infection.

Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 have developed antibodies in their blood that may be able to combat the virus. Using recovered patients as the donors, plasma with these antibodies is harvested and then given to patients suffering from active and severe COVID-19 virus. There are strict criteria that must be met for both donors and recipients of this plasma.

Participation in the study allows Upson Regional Medical Center to requisition convalescent plasma through the American Red Cross—enough supply for each approved patient. Jeff Tarrant, Upson Regional Medical Center CEO, said, “We are proud to have been approved by the Mayo Clinic as a study site for this research project, and are anxious for our physicians and clinical staff to initiate this therapy for some of our patients. However, without donors, this research really doesn’t go anywhere. We need individuals who have conquered this disease to consider paying it forward by taking a small amount of time to work with the Red Cross and donate plasma.”

Eligible donors must have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and recovered. Donors cannot still be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and at least 14 days must have passed since they were first diagnosed. Testing to assure that donors are free of active COVID-19 infection will be performed. Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health, and feel well. The Red Cross has some additional criteria for donors, but these are the main eligibility requirements.

Upson Regional Medical Center physician Dr. Alexander Smolensky stated, “We are proud to be participating with several major academic medical centers in this project. While we do not yet know what the research will show, convalescent plasma transfusions may help some of our sicker patients recover. But there is a shortage of plasma that contains these precious antibodies. We urge anyone in the area who has beaten COVID-19 to consider donation. Your gift of plasma could help others beat this as well.”

Interested donors should reach out to the American Red Cross at www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/plasma-donations-from-recovered-covid-19-patients.html to complete the donor eligibility form. The American Red Cross has convenient donor centers that can facilitate the collection of convalescent plasma. For more information, contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.

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