Recovered COVID-19 patient has tough time donating blood plasma with life-saving antibodies

Posted at 10:22 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 23:22:36-04

A local coronavirus survivor is hoping to help other patients by donating his blood plasma to patients in need. Jeff Kluever was one of the first COVID-19 cases in the Milwaukee area and has since recovered. Research shows the plasma from recovered patients can be used to help those currently sick with the virus in the hospital.

Kluever believes he contracted the virus while on a ski trip to Austria with five friends. They all were diagnosed with COVID-19 when they were tested in the U.S. in early March. Jeff's test was on March 9th, his confirmed diagnosis on the 11th. Then after self-quarantine, his doctor gave him the all-clear on March 21st.

To donate plasma, the Versiti Blood Center says patients need two things. A positive COVID-19 diagnosis, which Jeff had, and 28 days free of symptoms, which he had as well. But five different coronavirus tests still showed he had the virus. It wasn't until today that his tests came back clear, and he was free to donate plasma.

Versiti Blood Center's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Adshire, M.D. says Jeff's testing scenario is now becoming more common.

"That's pretty consistent with what we are now finding, that it is taking people longer to get rid of the virus," says Dr. Adshire.

Doctors are hoping that the natural antibodies now in recovered patients' blood will help those that are sick in the hospital with the virus.

Dr. Adshire says, "what they will be doing for the patients in the hospital is providing their protective antibodies because they are now over the infection to someone who is now having a harder time."

Versiti Blood Centers has currently sent plasma to 14 patients in the state who are receiving the treatments. But they are looking for more donors. They encourage recovered COVID-19 patients to contact them through this special page dedicated to the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program.

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