If you’ve contracted COVID-19 and have recovered from it, Northside Hospital Cherokee needs your help.

With the number of individuals being hospitalized for the coronavirus in Georgia at record highs, the hospital’s six locations, including Sandy Springs, needs convalescent plasma donors to help patients fighting COVID today, a news release stated.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website, 12,065 hospital inpatient beds are in use, which is 80.2% of capacity, and 2,571 ICU beds are in use, which is 87.1% of capacity. Dec. 17, the state went over the 13,000 mark in hospital inpatient beds in use for the first time this year.

Northside and Atlanta Blood Services are recruiting recovered COVID-19 patients to participate in an investigational program that involves the collection of “convalescent” plasma for the treatment of certain patients who have been diagnosed with the virus.

It is presumed that patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. Individuals who have had a diagnosis of COVID-19 or a positive antibody test, have been asymptomatic for at least 14 days and have a negative test may be eligible to donate plasma.

“We’re committed to collecting as much plasma as we need to help the people throughout the country,” Dr. H. Kent Holland, medical director of the Northside Blood and Marrow Transplant Program and the Atlanta Blood Services apheresis collection facility, said in the release.

Since the spring, shortly after the pandemic started, Northside has had a Phase II study that examines historical data as a benchmark and will use that benchmark to compare any benefits of convalescent plasma. A subgroup of the trial also looks at health care workers who have been exposed to the coronavirus to see if convalescent plasma reduces the chance of severe infections.

“We’ve been using convalescent plasma for over 100 years; it was used the Spanish flu, polio, measles, H1NI, Ebola and SARS,” Holland said. “There’s a lot of information about doing this and it’s very well understood. There’s a lot of work still to be done to show if this will work, but historically it does.”

Northside spokeswoman Katherine Watson said since it first launched the convalescent plasma program, Atlanta Blood Services has collected more than 1,700 units of plasma from 563 donors. While Northside has managed to maintain a supply of plasma to treat all patients who need it, it currently has a waiting list for plasma.

Qualified plasma donors must meet the following criteria: be healthy, be over age 18, have previously tested positive for COVID-19 or had a positive COVID-19 antibody test, have been symptom-free for at least 14 days and have been successfully screened as a blood donor per FDA blood donation guidelines.

For more information about donating plasma or to schedule an appointment, call 404-477-1299 or visit atlantabloodservices.com.

Support Local Journalism

Now, more than ever, residents need trustworthy reporting—but good journalism isn’t free. Please support us by purchasing a digital subscription. Your subscription will allow you unlimited access to important local news stories. Our mission is to keep our community informed and we appreciate your support.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.