LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The search for a vaccine or treatment to the coronavirus could begin with blood from those who have recovered from the virus.

UofL health wants plasma from people who have recovered and it has partnered with the Kentucky Blood Center (KBC) for a special drive. The plasma contains antibodies that may provide a way for the immune system to fight off the disease.

KBC will host a COVID-19 plasma collection drive Thursday, April 30 at KCB's Hillview location at 5406 Antle Drive in Louisville.

Plasma taken from COVID-19 patients is called COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma and it contains antibodies that may provide a way for the immune system to fight the disease. 

“It’s not a cure, but there is a tremendous amount of hope that convalescent plasma can assist more patients to beat COVID-19,” said Jason Smith, chief medical officer at UofL Health. “Across our community and state, so many have sacrificed to slow the spread of this virus. We need that same kind of enthusiasm and commitment now around donations for plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.”

To qualify to donate a donor must:

  • Have a positive lab test showing the disease was present and be free of all symptoms for a minimum of 28 days.
  • A positive test and no symptoms for at least two weeks
  • A negative test confirming the person is no longer infected.

For more information contact: EmergencyResponse@uoflhealth.org.

Norton Healthcare is also collecting convalescent plasma and they are also working with KBC. 

It began offering this experimental treatment in early April and has transfused 21 patients who were critically ill with COVID-19. Of those, six have been well enough to be discharged from the hospital.

“These results are incredibly encouraging, but we’ve had a disconnect between our growing list of potential donor volunteers and our ability to collect their convalescent plasma,” said Joseph M. Flynn, D.O., MPH, FACP, chief administrative officer, Norton Medical Group, and physician-in-chief, Norton Cancer Institute.

Kentucky Blood Center is one of the first in the country to begin collecting convalescent plasma. It can collect plasma from larger numbers of recovered patients. To date, they have collected from 15 patients and distributed plasma to partners throughout Kentucky.