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GULF COAST REGION—Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is collecting convalescent plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19.

Antibodies present in convalescent plasma are proteins that might help others fight the infection. There is no approved treatment for COVID-19, but there is some information that suggests this plasma might help some patients recover.

Katy resident Cheryl Henderson, who was diagnosed in March, was one of the first to donate her convalescent plasma. “There are people worse off than me,” said Henderson, adding that others need to take the disease seriously. “If my blood can save lives, I’ll help because there are too many people dying.”

The Blood Center is working with local hospitals to assess their needs and contacting donors ready to give.

Area hospitals participating in the Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program led by the Mayo Clinic have joined forces with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to collect, test, and process the plasma. Partners include Baylor College of Medicine with CHI St. Luke’s Health in the Medical Center and UTHealth with Memorial Hermann. Together we can provide treatment for the most critically ill patients in local hospitals.  In addition to these partnerships, The Blood Center is working to build a steady supply of Convalescent Plasma for any hospital in need.

To qualify, donors must meet The Blood Center’s general eligibility requirements for donating blood and have had a positive test laboratory test for COVID-19. They must be fully recovered with no symptoms for at least 28 days before the donation or be recovered for 14 days with a second test showing a negative result.

Anyone with questions or who wants to sign up for an appointment can contact The Blood Center at (713) 791-6608 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or go to www.giveblood.org to complete an online form to determine where your plasma is needed most.

If you believe you have COVID-19, donating blood will not provide you with test results.

The need for blood donations is ongoing, and The Blood Center remains open by appointment only. We are currently collecting from both red cell and platelet donors who have not contracted COVID-19 and are feeling healthy and well. Check giveblood.org for an available appointment. Blood donations are allowed and considered essential throughout the “Stay Home, Work Safe” period. 

The Blood Center is the sole provider of blood and blood components 24/7 to more than 170 hospitals and health care facilities in a 26-county Texas Gulf Coast region. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is a nonprofit organization and is accredited by the Food and Drug Administration. For more information or to help save lives, visit giveblood.org.

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