Context.– In the face of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response, it was worthwhile to test the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) transfusion.
Objective.– To establish a CCP donation program based on the availability of recovered COVID-19 patients and the practical limitations to recruit clinically valid donors in a multicultural setting.
Design.– From March to June 2020, we developed a program for collection of COVID-19 CCP as part of the treatment options for patients affected with COVID-19. From an initial population of 3,746 candidates, only those with positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results in at least two separate tests were considered. This filter reduced the eligible donor pool to 488 patients. After other exclusions were applied, such as language barrier, age, accessibility to donation, comorbidities, etc., the final count was 267 potentially eligible donors, which represented only 54.7 % (267/488) of preselected candidates.
Results.– Eighty donors were called. Approximately a third of the calls provided additional challenges as outlined by the following four reasons: limited functional understanding of English; schedule availability due to rotating work timetables; transportation restrictions since public transport services were severely restricted during lockdown; and lost to follow up. Finally, a total of 38 valid donors participated, from which 45 apheresis procedures were performed.
Conclusions.– As a summary of our experience, we can conclude that despite the limitations we were able to establish an effective program. A total of 90 units of CCP were collected before the pandemic curve began to flatten toward the end of June 2020.
The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.