NewsArizona News


Recovered COVID-19 patients' blood key to saving others

Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 07:03:25-04

Arizonans who've battled and survived the coronavirus could hold the key to those still fighting for their lives. The ingredient could be found in their blood.

“This could be your mother, your brother, your sister, your friends, with us our friends, and we’re desperately worried for them,” said Susan Levy.

Levy says two of her closest friends, a husband and wife, are battling COVID-19. We’re not revealing their identities out of privacy.

“He was admitted on Sunday the 21st, she was admitted Monday the 22nd of March,” said Levy.

The virus is severely sickening the two in their 60s. At one point, both ended up on a ventilator at HonorHealth Hospital on Shea.

“She got off the ventilator last Thursday,” said Levy.

However, her husband remained on one fighting for his life.

A physician told his family he would need a new treatment recently approved by the FDA to aid in his recovery.

“If he didn’t get convalescent plasma, they were not sure what they could do,” said Levy.

Convalescent plasma comes from people infected by the coronavirus who’ve since recovered.

Inside their blood, a critical weapon now exists, antibodies that can be used to fight the virus.

Levy says she turned to friends on Facebook to find out if anyone who'd had the virus could help. Fourteen people have stepped up and filled out applications to donate from that request already.

“It’s currently the only tool available that doctors have to try and give people some antibodies to fight off coronavirus,” said Sue Thew with Vitalant.

Thew says they just recently had their first donor and have since received more than 600 applications from folks who want to provide their plasma.

There are three ways to qualify:

1. The donor can apply online, must have a positive test, be symptom-free for 14 to 27 days and provide a negative test.
2. A donor's physician or hospital applies online for them and provides the documentation.
3. A donor can apply online, must be symptom-free for 28 days or more but would not need to provide a positive or negative test in that case.

“The donations are being given at any of our six valley donor centers and our staff are reviewing the applications as quickly as we can,” said Thew.

A process that can take time to ensure the safety of those getting the plasma.

But for Levy, it’s a race against time to save the life of a dear friend and get the word out that you could be the one to do it.

“It’s not that it’s just helping him, this convalescent plasma will help everybody who needs it,” said Levy.

For every one person who donates their plasma, it can go on to help treat up to five patients fighting the COVID-19 virus.