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Covid and Convalescent Plasma

Margaret and George Fritsma attended the American Society for Clinical Pathology May 11, 2020 Virtual Town Hall presentation, “Covid-19 and the Blood Bank,” now recorded and available to all. The presentation featured panel participants Kimberly W. Sanford, MD, MASCP, Virginia Commonwealth University, ASCP President-Elect; Melody Boudreaus Nelson, MS, MLS [ASCP], Laboratory Operations Manager; Advent Health, Shawnee Mission; Christopher Tormey, MD, FASCP, Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine, Director, Transfusion Services, Yale School of Medicine; Eric Salazar, MD, PhD, FASCP, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Academic Institute Houston Methodist; and Tiffany Channer, MPH, MLS [ASCP], Assistant Administration Director and Quality Manager, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Departments, White Plains Hospital, White Plains, NY.

The panel discussed in depth the efficacy of convalescent plasma in treating Covid patients. At least 33 manuscripts present cases and retrospective studies that describe patient recovery partially attributable to convalescent plasma therapy. At least 5000 Covid patients have been treated. Currently, large-scale randomized prospective placebo-controlled trials are being developed to document safety and efficacy. Plasma is matched to patient blood group and there have been few documented febrile transfusion reactions, transfusion-related acute lung injury [TRALI] or transfusion-associated circulatory overload [TACO].One apparent concern is that plasma may contribute to patient hypercoagulability, which is reported to be symptomatic in ~30% of Covid patients. The panelists discuss dosage and supply concerns as the FDA modifies and streamlines approval pathways.

Covid-19 and the Blood Bank was the third in a series of ASCP Town Hall meetings. Previous meetings, recorded, include COVID-19: National Testing Strategy and the Laboratories’ Response, April 29, and National COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing and Support Strategy, April 20. The next session is Best Practices in Adopting Multiple COVID-19 Testing Platforms, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 1 PM CDT.

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