POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Nuvance Health will launch a Convalescent Plasma Donation Center, giving people who have recovered from the new coronavirus an opportunity to donate potentially life-saving plasma to critically ill patients fighting the virus, at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie.
It will open Monday April 27. Nuvance will also be opening centers at Norwalk Hospital Wednesday, April 29 and Danbury Hospital Friday, May 1.
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Dr. James Nitzkorski, a surgical oncologist at Nuvance Health, said plasma contains antibodies that can fight infection.
“When someone recovers from a COVID-19 infection, they do so, in part, because the antibodies can neutralize the virus and make someone better," he said. "That plasma is then taken from a donor, prepared and then given to a critically-ill, COVID-19 patient.”
Nuvance Health has been using plasma for COVID-19 patients, working with the New York Blood Center and the American Red Cross to procure donations. Because the need is great, Nuvance Health has opened its own donor centers to meet the demands and to rapidly increase available plasma, Nitzkorski said.
To qualify, donors must meet the following criteria as set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
COVID-19 confirmation with either positive swab or antibody test (antibody tests are expected but not currently available in our centers).
14-day, symptom-free interval with a repeat negative swab.
28-day, symptom-free interval with NO need for a repeat swab.
To donate, interested individuals must first register through this link. A staff member will contact the prospective candidates for further instruction. Priority is now being given to donors getting closer to the 28-day, symptom-free interval.
Once selected, participants will donate their blood plasma at one of the three Nuvance locations. The process is very similar to a blood transfusion.
The plasma will then be used for cases at all Nuvance Health hospitals, as well as stored for future use.
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