HONOLULU, HI (April 29, 2020) — As part of an innovative statewide coalition of government agencies and private healthcare organizations, Blood Bank of Hawaii (BBH) announced today that it has started collecting plasma from residents who have recovered from COVID-19 and will be distributing the therapeutic blood component to local hospitals that are caring for coronavirus patients.
“We are proud to partner with Hawaii’s leading medical providers to contribute to a national study that makes this experimental treatment option a reality for our local community,” said KimAnh Nguyen, CEO of Blood Bank of Hawaii. Coalition members include The Queen’s Health Systems, Hawaii Pacific Health, Kaiser Permanente, the state Department of Health, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and other clinical laboratories.
“The medical school and University Health Partners of Hawaii are excited to partner in this project with the BBH and our health system partners,” said Dr. Jerris Hedges, Professor and Dean at JABSOM. “Through this project we will learn more about how our bodies fight COVID19 and provide those residents who have already recovered from this disease the ability to help others in the community.”
Convalescent plasma has traditionally been used as an early treatment for many infectious diseases. BBH’s role is to make this treatment readily available to hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are at the greatest risk. The national clinical trial provides BBH and hospitals an FDA-approved pathway to collect, distribute and administer CCP, which is considered an investigative new drug.
Eligible CCP donors must have tested positive for COVID-19 with laboratory-confirmed documentation and be symptom free for 28 days. They must also meet standard plasma donor eligibility requirements. Pre-qualified CCP donors will donate using the same apheresis technology as other plasma donors, but collections will only be handled at the Blood Bank of Hawaii’s newly reopened Dillingham Donor Center due to additional protocols and staff requirements. Once collected, plasma can be frozen and stored for up to one year prior to use.
At this time, donors who have not yet been tested positive for COVID-19 are not eligible to participate in this program. BBH does not test blood donors for COVID-19.