Jason Garcia recovered from COVID-19 and wanted to help others. He found a way to do so by donating his plasma to three other patients.
Garcia, 36, made a full recovery from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in March. Garcia is an aerospace engineer, married, with an 11-month old at home in San Diego.
Plasma Donation and Infusion
He donated plasma for a patient in the ICU at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County, on April 1. Both the donation and the infusion occurred on the same day.
“I’m glad that this turned into a positive thing,” Garcia said.
Jason Garcia donated plasma to help another COVID-19 patient. (St. Joseph Hospital)
Garcia, who had started feeling symptoms March 6 and received a confirmed diagnosis on March 14, learned about the potential to donate his plasma to treat others after being cleared by the San Diego Department of Public Health. A friend relayed his post to a nurse at St. Joseph Hospital who had put out a call for recovered patients to donate.
Saint Joseph Hospital, in an email to GV Wire, said that “3 patients total have benefited from Jason’s donation. So far, the first patient treated has seen improvement in health.”
Plasma May Contain Antibodies
According to the FDA, “It is possible that convalescent plasma that contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) might be effective against the infection.”
Saint Joseph’s is the first hospital on the West Coast to try this experimental treatment.
“We’re able to extract plasma, using an apheresis machine, and then store that and then give it to another patient, so that they receive the antibodies that’ll help them fight this disease,” said Wendy Escobedo, RN, the nursing director for Dialysis and Kidney Transplants for the hospital.
Mayo Clinic Leading National Study
The Food and Drug Administration announced a national study Friday, led by the Mayo Clinic, that will help hospitals offer experimental plasma therapy and track how patients fare.
The American Red Cross will help collect and distribute the plasma. Last week, the Red Cross announced that people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. The Red Cross has been asked by (FDA) to help identify prospective donors and manage the distribution of these products to hospitals treating patients in need.