Miami Mayor Francis Suarez Becomes First FL COVID-19 Plasma Donor

Published on April 03, 2020

COVID-19 Updates
 

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has recovered from the coronavirus and is the first person in Florida to become a COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor. His donation will be used to help a critically ill coronavirus patient in Florida. COVID-19 convalescent plasma is an experimental treatment that has been approved by the FDA to be used on an emergency basis to help people with life-threatening coronavirus infections.

The Mayor donated his plasma with OneBlood, one of the largest not-for-profit blood centers in the country serving Florida, North Carolina and other parts of the southeastern United States. Just days earlier OneBlood had announced it would begin collecting plasma from people who recovered from the coronavirus and who meet the FDA qualifications to be a donor.

In an ironic twist of fate, at the same time OneBlood began coordinating the Mayor’s donation, a patient with a severe case of coronavirus also contacted the Mayor asking if he would consider donating his plasma in the hopes of aiding his recovery.

When the Mayor learned that he qualified to be a donor, he immediately began coordinating with OneBlood to arrange for his donation.

“I have a moral responsibility to do this. My plasma donation has the potential to help a coronavirus patient recover.  I want this to be a call to action for other people who have recovered from the coronavirus to follow in my footsteps and find out if they are eligible to be a plasma donor so together we can help more people who are suffering with coronavirus,” said Suarez.

People who recover from coronavirus infection have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood.  Transfusing the plasma that contains the antibodies into a person still fighting the virus can provide a boost to the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover.

“This is a monumental moment in the fight against coronavirus. The OneBlood team has worked around-the-clock in order to implement the new FDA protocols to begin collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma. The Mayor is not only providing hope to the patient in need of his plasma, he is providing hope to the entire nation in the fight against this terrible virus,” said Bud Scholl, President and Chief Executive Officer of OneBlood.   

Donor Eligibility Requirements
Potential COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors will need to meet all the usual screening criteria for blood donation, plus pass additional FDA criteria, including:

  • COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood
  • Required testing must be performed and the donation must be found suitable
  • Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test
  • Complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation
  • Have a negative result for COVID-19
  • Meet all standard FDA blood donation requirements

In addition, the recipients of the plasma will also have to meet FDA criteria in order to qualify to receive this therapy for treating life-threatening COVID-19.