Why is it important?

With the eruption of the second wave of the coronavirus, not only the number of positive cases, but the number of those requiring hospital treatment has also increased. There are still few targeted therapies available to treat these patients. Although there are some encouraging results with certain antiviral drugs, the most efficient treatment is still convalescent plasma therapy, which can save lives. The serum can be produced exclusively from the blood of patients that have fully recovered from the disease, therefore it is crucial that as many of them as possible donate plasma.

Who can donate plasma?

Patients that have fully recovered from COVID-19 and at least 4 weeks have passed since the appearance of symptoms, or at least 2 weeks since recovery. Primarily, donors between the ages of 18 and 60 are expected, who are confirmed to have recovered, meaning that following a confirmed positive diagnosis, they have a negative PCR test result. Any person that has recovered from the disease can donate plasma, regardless of the type of symptoms they had or the severity of the illness – so even those that did not require hospital treatment.

How to donate plasma

Those wishing to donate plasma will first have some of their blood drawn – it is not required to arrive on an empty stomach, as the samples will be examined with the sole purpose of determining whether they contain a sufficient amount of antibodies. Similar to other diseases, the amount of antibodies the body produces to fight COVID-19 can differ, but for convalescent plasma therapy to be efficient, their level has to reach a certain value.

To provide an initial blood sample, contact:

Plasma donors will be informed about the place and time where blood will be taken. In the case of a group donation, it is possible to request a screening bus, which will arrive at the agreed location and time.

As a first step, a vial of blood will be drawn from each donor, after which those that are eligible to donate plasma based on the level of antibodies found in their blood will be notified separately. The process of drawing plasma is similar to donating blood, but only the part of the blood containing proteins and antibodies will be used.

Semmelweis University has launched an awareness-raising drive to encourage as many recovered Semmelweis Citizens as possible to donate plasma to help the treatment of patients currently fighting the infection. University staff and students that have recovered from COVID-19 can provide preliminary blood samples on three dates in the screening buses of OrthoSera located in the parking lot of the Outer Clinical Block (access through the Central Patient Care Unit at 1083 Budapest, Üllői út 78):

– Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
– Thursday, October 8, 2020, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
– Monday, October 12, 2020, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

How does convalescent plasma therapy work?

The blood of patients that have recovered from the disease contains so-called antibodies made by the body in response to infections. In the course of convalescent plasma therapy, these antibodies from the plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients are used to prepare a serum to treat the disease. Medical tests and scientific studies during the pandemic have shown that using this healthy serum can reduce the so-called “cytokine storm,” which is an excessive immune reaction that forms in the blood of seriously ill patients.