Canadian Blood Services announces first COVID-19 plasma donor

1st COVID-19 plasma donor

Canadian Blood Services has just collected its first COVID-19 convalescent plasma donation, as part of a research project to test whether it could assist in the recovery of infected patients.

Convalescent plasma is collected through the plasma donation process. It is derived from patients who have already contracted the virus, developed antibodies against it and are no longer infected.

In theory, these antibodies can then be used as a treatment to help patients in the earlier stages of COVID-19 by attacking the virus in their system. 

The national CONCOR clinical trial will test the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 convalescent plasma from people like Jerry Glubisz, who have already recovered from the virus.

“I’m delighted to be able to help out a really good cause," says Glubisz. 

"I have been an active blood donor for 15 years. I’m pleased my unfortunate situation can help somebody else. I think I’m doing a little bit of good out of all this.”

The first donation was collected on Wednesday, April 29 in Vancouver, and CBS chief scientist Dr. Dana Devine says the blood operator is now recruiting for more potential convalescent plasma donors across the country. 

“Convalescent plasma may help patients recover from COVID-19, but this has not yet been proven. Well-designed clinical trials, like CONCOR, will help provide the necessary information about whether this is a safe and effective treatment option for patients. We’re making an important contribution to research on a global scale that could help patients in Canada and around the world.”

Donor centres with the ability to collect blood components like plasma are located in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

All convalescent plasma donations will initially be supplied to Canadian physicians caring for patients with COVID-19, in partnership with Health Canada. 

More than 50 hospitals within Canada are currently participating in CONCOR, and patient involvement is determined by treating physicians at participating hospitals. 

In addition to normal plasma donor eligibility criteria, convalescent plasma donors for the CONCOR study must be:

  • younger than 67 years old,
  • previously confirmed positive for COVID-19 by a laboratory test,
  • fully recovered from the virus and symptom free for at least 28 days, 
  • and live within driving distance of one of the 11 donor centres mentioned above. 

Canadian Blood Services is not accepting walk-in donors for any of its collection programs during the pandemic.

If you are interested in becoming a convalescent plasma donor, visit the online registry.

If you are a patient with COVID-19 looking for information on convalescent plasma as a treatment option, visit the study site

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