Vitalant partnering with Chicago-area hospital to support COVID-19 patients

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In Lansing, Vitalant (formerly known as LifeSource) is located at 2 River Place. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Convalescent plasma collection and treatments begin this week

information provided by Vitalant

ROSEMONT, Ill. (April 25, 2020) – Vitalant, formerly LifeSource, is partnering with Chicago area healthcare systems on a pilot program to treat patients with active, severe cases of COVID-19 with blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19. Known as “convalescent plasma,” this blood product contains antibodies that may give patients an extra boost to fight their life-threatening illness.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified and approved convalescent plasma treatment as an ‘emergency investigational new drug’ based on results of similar treatments of past diseases such as Ebola. “Convalescent plasma is currently the only antibody treatment available to COVID-19 patients and, as such, is a promising new tool. Because of its potential, the FDA, along with hospitals and blood centers such as Vitalant, has quickly responded with a program which combines the strength of each organization with the altruism of the recovered donors to assist critically ill patients,” said Mona Papari, MD, senior chief medical officer for Vitalant-Illinois.

“UI Health is extremely pleased to be the first healthcare system to participate in the Vitalant convalescent plasma program in Chicagoland as it brings a promising investigational treatment to hospitalized patients who are battling severe COVID-19 infections in our area,” said Sally Campbell-Lee, MD, associate department head and director of clinical affairs for the Department of Pathology at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health).

Vitalant’s partner hospitals will be operating under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational protocols and are poised to screen potential donors. Once donor eligibility is confirmed, Vitalant will work with the hospitals to collect and process the plasma.

Adults over the age of 16* who have had and recovered from COVID-19, and want to donate plasma are encouraged to apply at: Vitalant.org/covidfree. (*16-year-olds require parental consent.)

Current criteria include:

  • Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test
  • Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days or complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days and a negative test result for COVID-19
  • All other donor eligibility for an automated plasma donation

Additional tests or other criteria may be required. In some instances, those who have recovered from COVID-19 may be able to donate even if they did not have an initial laboratory test. Those who meet that criteria and want to donate plasma are encouraged to apply through the Vitalant website Vitalant.org/covidfree. For more information, please call 866-CV-PLSMA (866-287-5762) or email [email protected].

Donors and physicians should consult the most current FDA guidance. In addition, hospitals and physicians are encouraged to visit vitalant.org/covidfree for more information.

Vitalant will accept donors who have recovered from COVID-19 only after they have been evaluated and cleared by a physician. This ensures that only fully recovered individuals are entering Vitalant facilities and donating plasma. Donors must be fully approved to participate in the program prior to arriving at a Vitalant Community Donation Center.

The Lansing Vitalant donation center is located at 2 River Oaks Drive.

In Lansing, Vitalant (formerly known as LifeSource) is located at 2 River Oaks Drive. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)