FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., May 14, 2020 – MemorialCare has announced that its four hospitals – MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center, Miller Children and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, and MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills – are active participants in the U.S. Government-supported national Expanded Access Program to provide convalescent plasma to patients suffering from severe or life-threatening COVID-19. To date, the four hospitals have administered 17 plasma transfusions.
The convalescent plasma is a blood product collected from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection with the hopes that it will contain antibodies to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). The plasma is then transfused into patients who are afflicted by the disease with the intent of providing them with antibodies to help fight off the infection. This method of treatment has proven beneficial when used for some other diseases caused by viruses.
There are two components to the program: treatment and collection. While the participating centers identify current patients meeting the inclusion criteria to receive the convalescent plasma as treatment, they are also contacting recovered patients to recruit plasma donors. Without donors, this treatment option is not possible. The MemorialCare hospitals’ supply of convalescent plasma for this program is being provided through the San Diego Blood Bank and they are directing any potential donors there for collection.
Led by Emanuel Ferro, MD, pathologist and director of the Blood Bank, Donor Center, and Transfusion Medicine at Long Beach Medical Center, the MemorialCare research team is excited and cautiously optimistic about the potential benefits of this therapy for their patients while also collecting and providing valuable data for the program.
“The use of convalescent plasma from patients that have recovered from other types of infections can sometimes be lifesaving. Our hope is that the transfusion of plasma from patients that have recovered from COVID-19 infection may provide an additional valuable therapeutic option for our patients,” says Dr. Ferro.
“There is no doubt that nationwide, the medical community is working hard to develop evidence-based SARS-COV-2 treatment solutions. I am proud that my hospital is a part of this endeavor,” adds David Michalik, DO, pediatric infectious disease specialist at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children's and Women's Hospital Long Beach. “Convalescent plasma has gained considerable traction as a treatment option in SARS-COV-2 infected patients. I remain hopeful that studies will show its use can improve outcomes for those fighting this infection.”
Learn more about the Expanded Access Program.
If you have been infected with SARS-COV-2 and wish to donate plasma, please visit San Diego Blood Bank.
MemorialCare, a nonprofit health system, listed among the nation's Best Health Systems and Best Workplaces, has over 200 care locations including leading hospitals—Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach; MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians; Seaside Health Plan; and numerous outpatient health, imaging, surgery, urgent care, breast health and dialysis centers throughout Orange and Los Angeles counties.
About Long Beach Medical Center
Long Beach Medical Center, part of OC-based MemorialCare, has been providing the community with compassionate, quality health care for more than 100 years. While leading in specialized care, research and education, Long Beach Medical Center has an outstanding record of innovation and medical advances, along with numerous accolades. With leading centers for cancer, heart, rehabilitation, orthopedics, neurology and trauma, physicians and surrounding hospitals continually refer to its accredited programs. The entire care team works diligently to provide the highest level of care for chronic diseases, critical illnesses, outpatient procedures, older adult support and medical disorders. For more information, visit memorialcare.org/LongBeach.