MD Anderson is Looking for Plasma Donors

Covid 19 is leaving a lot of people feeling helpless, but there is a significant way you can help in Houston.

MD Anderson Cancer Center, in conjunction with a Mayo Clinic national initiative, is looking for volunteers to donate blood plasma.

Houston and the Texas Medical Center have been at the forefront of developing the use of plasma in the treatment of seriously ill patients diagnosed with this novel coronavirus. Houston Methodist was the first, and then Baylor College of Medicine joined in clinical trials, and MD Anderson is adding to the cutting-edge science that is developing protocols for the use of Covid 19 Convalescent Plasma. They need your help.

These are the specific qualifications of who they’re looking for:

• have had COVID-19, which must be documented by a laboratory test

• be recovered from COVID-19, including:

complete resolution of symptoms at least 28 days prior to donation, or

complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation and negative results for COVID-19, either from one or more nasopharyngeal swab specimens or by a molecular diagnostic test from blood

• have no history of cancer diagnosis

• be at least 17 years of age

• weigh at least 110 pounds

• be in good health on day of donation

• have a valid photo ID

• meet eligibility qualifications as a blood donor

Is that you? The process is pretty much the same as donating blood. It might just take a tad longer than a standard blood donation, between 30 to 45 minutes, as their special machinery whirs around the blood and separates the anti-body rich plasma from red blood cells, which get returned to your body. If you qualify, you’ll be asked to return for a second donation within a three-month period with at least four weeks in between.

Want to know more? Call MD Anderson at 713-745-6742. Or email their Blood Bank at Make sure you include your full name and contact number. They’ll have a donation recruiter get back to you and confirm eligibility, and then can arrange an appointment at the Mays Clinic on Holcombe. You’ll have some paperwork to fill out when you get there.

Dr. Kimberly Klein is one of the co-leaders of the project, and says the use of plasma to treat viruses has been around for years. “It has been used in the past for other disease processes. Such as Ebola, influenza, measles, and other Coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS,” she tells KTRH News. “This is an old technology that we’ve used for a very long time. The WHO [World Health Organization] actually recommends the use of Convalescent Plasma because it can be employed relatively quickly and there are very minimal side effects.” She says use of the technology today will help the medical staff better understand how Covid-19 works and how to treat it.

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