Local family seeks plasma donor for life-saving COVID-19 treatment

Coronavirus
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DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado family is searching for a plasma donor who could potentially help save the life of their brother, husband and father currently fighting to stay alive.

Scott Kaplan, 43, was diagnosed with COVID-19 less than two weeks ago. His sisters Marci Kaplan and Samantha Dunham say he’s in very critical condition at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Campus. They believe a newly approved plasma treatment is the only remaining option to save his life.

“The world needs my brother. His family needs him, he needs us. He need to be surrounded by the love of his family, his parents and his kids. We’re just not ready to lose him,” said Marci.

The treatment is called a convalescent plasma transfusion. Dr. Kyle Annen with Children’s Hospital Colorado says it involves taking plasma from a person who has recently recovered from COVID-19 and transfusing it into a current patient. Children’s Hospital started taking donations for this type of treatment earlier this week and has so far successfully received two collections from qualified donors.

Annen says people who have recovered from COVID-19 carry antibodies that could help fight the virus in other patients.

“By transfusing those antibodies into the patient, it may help get control of some of the virus and it’s a bit of an opportunity to start getting better,” said Annen.

Annen points out this is not a cure and is only designed for critical patients.

In order to qualify to donate, a person must have tested positive for COVID-19, be fully recovered for at least 14 days and meet standard blood donation criteria.

“Initially it was difficult because we only had the first reported and confirmed case in the beginning of March, so trying to find people who were fully recovered for 14 days was a bit challenging,” said Annen.

Annen points out many people with the virus were never tested, and therefore would not qualify under the criteria set by the FDA. Kaplan’s family believes this roadblock could prevent suitable donors from saving his life.

Annen says Children’s Hospital is one of just three hospitals in the country currently collecting donations for this type of treatment, as most hospitals don’t have their own collection sites.

Anyone interested in donating is asked to email convalescentplasma@childrenscolorado.org or call 720-777-3557.

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