What would Tom Hanks do?
Why COVID-19 survivors should consider donating plasma to help others.
Carolyn Tillo Published: August 31, 2020
Actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were in Australia for a film shoot. Fans followed their diagnosis, recovery and eventual return to the U.S. Hanks also shared that he and his wife donated convalescent plasma.
Convalescent plasma is a term for the liquid portion of the blood taken from a donor who has recovered from a disease. Plasma contains antibodies that fight against many diseases.
Some studies suggest transfusion of such plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients may help in recovery and reduce the number of deaths in critically ill COVID-19 patients. The FDA also recently issued an emergency-use authorization for convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the need for convalescent plasma is on the rise. Baptist Health is working with LifeSouth, its non-profit community blood bank partner, to collect plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. Patients are eligible to donate if they have been symptom-free for at least 14 days. LifeSouth then tests the donor for antibodies prior to releasing the units as convalescent plasma and recruiting the donor for further donations.
“This is a chance for the COVID-19 survivors in our community to pay it forward,” said Elizabeth Ransom, MD, FACS, executive vice president and chief physician executive for Baptist Health. “It’s important that we’re providing our patients with every possible treatment option available.”