COPING WITH COVID: The Blood Connection.

As Prisma Health and Charleston's Roper St. Francis wade into a treatment trial using the plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients, Piedmont's The Blood Connection has received three blood donations for the treatment.

The non-profit blood bank, Prisma's exclusive blood provider, expects many more donations to come 28 days after the first wave of COVID-19 patients recover and are eligible to donate.

"Our medical director tells us that in the next two weeks we are going to have a much bigger pool of people that can come donate, and in even in the next month, of course, there's going to be a lot of people who are out of the woods and recovered from COVID-19," said Allie Van Dyke, partnership and media coordinator at The Blood Connection. "We're prepared, at least for the next mont."

The trial, coordinated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Mayo Clinic in 100 locations across the country, will use convalescent serum derived from fully recovered COVID-19 patients to treat patients whose lives are threatened by the virus. The University of South Carolina will assist with lab testing, while The Blood Connection will collect and prepare blood samples for the treatment within days.

"The immune systems of recovered patients have created the antibodies needed the virus from the body. These same antibodies can be collected from them in a process much like giving blood and then given to others who are still struggling with the disease. We are hopeful that using the treatment will help more severely ill people recover more quickly, said Dr. Jeffery Edenfield, medical director at Prisma's Translational Oncology Research Institute, in a news release.

He said similar treatment has proved successful in other viral respiratory outbreaks.

The Blood Connection was notified of Prisma's acceptance into the nationwide testing program at the end of last week, but with an existing capacity to process 600 blood donations into plasma and platelet infusions, and other blood products, Van Dyke said the transition will not be too taxing. She said the blood supply is the bank's primary concern for getting the treatment into hospitals.

"We have the equipment, that wasn't something didn't need to...

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