The HCA East Florida Hospitals of Palm Beach County announced Tuesday, May 5 that they will participate in a national study to determine if plasma from convalescent, or recovered, COVID-19 patients may benefit individuals currently hospitalized with severe or life-threatening cases of the virus. As part of the effort, JFK Medical Center and Palms West Hospital are seeking eligible volunteers to donate plasma to help current patients in need.
“We are proud to take part in this important study. We are asking for the help of our community to spread awareness about plasma donation for patients facing COVID-19 not only here in Palm Beach County, but also around the world,” said Dr. Neil Kooy, Palms West Hospital’s chief medical officer.
To date, there is no proven therapy for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, but there is a long history of successful viral infection treatment using convalescent plasma. After someone is infected with a virus like COVID-19 and recovers, their blood contains antibodies that their immune system produced to help them fight off the virus. By infusing this plasma into patients who are facing severe cases of COVID-19, their immune system might more effectively be able to fight the virus. Recent examples of this approach have occurred during outbreaks of coronaviruses like SARS-1, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), but additional clinical data — and more plasma donations — are needed to determine efficacy in treating COVID-19.
The success of the study hinges on the continued collection of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. People who tested positive for COVID-19 and have since tested negative can help by donating plasma through OneBlood, the American Red Cross or another local donation center. To find out more about the donation process, eligibility and locations to donate in Palm Beach County, call HCA’s dedicated COVID-19 Plasma Phone Line at (833) 582-1971 or visit www.hcahealthcare.com.
The HCA East Florida Hospitals of Palm Beach County are among 172 hospitals participating from the HCA Healthcare network. HCA Healthcare, along with its Sarah Cannon Research Institute, is leveraging its clinical research capabilities and national hospital network to quickly expand collection and testing for this study, which is being led by the Mayo Clinic and supported by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. This is one of several research initiatives involving COVID-19 in which HCA Healthcare and Sarah Cannon are participating.