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Recovered COVID-19 patients join together to donate plasma

Doctors believe donors who developed antibodies to the virus may be able help others who are now sick.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — After the skiing stopped, Vail went to battle with COVID-19.

"I came to work and I had this splitting, splitting headache," said Nadine Lober, a veterinarian in Eagle County. "All of a sudden I couldn’t taste anything, couldn’t smell anything. This is about five weeks ago."

Lober didn’t know it at the time, but she would soon test positive for the novel coronavirus.

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Just days after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the state in early March, Lober said she contracted the virus. A test confirmed the diagnosis. More than a month later, she’s healthy and wanting to help.  

Lober said she is one of the first recovered COVID-19 patients in the state to donate convalescent plasma. Doctors believe donors who developed antibodies for the virus may be able to help others who are now sick.

"I feel like I can finally do something that’s starting to make a difference. It’s such a wonderful feeling," said Lober. "I wanted to be able to help anyone I could in such a disastrous situation. So many other people want to do the same thing."

She put out a call in the newspaper to see who else in Vail may also have recovered. Her list of people wanting to donate plasma is now more than 50 people long.

"It’s been incredible. Incredible, the outpouring of people that want to help," said Lober. "Vail is such a small community and everybody, bless their hearts, wants to help and do something."

People wanting to donate must prove they had a positive COVID-19 test and must be recovered from all symptoms for at least 14 days. They must also meet all the criteria for donating blood. 

So many people in Eagle County are eligible to donate plasma the blood donation non-profit Vitalant is now planning a collection drive there next week. 

"Convalescent plasma has great potential to help critically ill patients who are undergoing treatment for COVID-19 right now," said Liz Lambert, a spokesperson for Vitalant. "They have now recovered from COVID-19 and want to do something to help others that are going through that battle right now."

Lober is organizing an army of recovered COVID-19 patients. An army that could save lives.

"Just knowing that you’ve had it is such a relief," said Lober. "It’s a rewarding feeling and it fills up your heart."

Two convalescent plasma drives will be held in Vail next week, though the dates and locations haven’t been set yet. 

If you think you might be eligible to donate, you can find out more information here.

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