Red Cross Has Emergency Need for Plasma Donations Used to Treat COVID-19 Patients
The Red Cross is always in need of blood donations, but this time they're looking for a particular kind of donation from a particular kind of donor.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge around the country, the Red Cross has seen the demand for convalescent plasma more than double in the past month. What is "convalescent plasma?" It's plasma donated from someone who has recently recovered from an illness and has been given a clean bill of health from their doctor. Their plasma contains the antibodies that will help prevent them from getting the same illness again, at least for awhile. That plasma can then be taken and given to another person with the same illness with the hopes those antibodies will help the new patient fight off the infection and recover quicker through an experimental process called "Convalescent plasma therapy."
In this case, the people they're looking for are those who have recently recovered from COVID-19.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed and fully recovered from COVID-19, regardless of the severity of your symptoms, if you showed any at all, the Red Cross is strongly urging you to make an appointment for donation. Your one donation could help up to three current COVID-19 patients according to a press release provided by the Red Cross.
To make an appointment for either a convalescent plasma or standard blood donation, visit Red Cross Blood.org, or download and use the Red Cross's Blood Donor app to set up an appointment at an upcoming blood drive, or at their offices on Stockwell Road in Evansville.
If COVID-19 has you concerned about making a donation, here's are the safety measures they have in place according to an e-mail exchange I had recently with Theo Boots, Executive Director of Southwest Indiana American Red Cross.
- Checking temperatures of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering the drives, as well as throughout the donation process
- Following social distancing between donors including entry, donation, and refreshment areas
- Ensuring face masks or coverings are worn by both staff and donors
- Routinely disinfecting surfaces, equipment and donor-touched areas
- Wearing gloves, and changing gloves often
- Using sterile collection sets and an aseptic scrub for every donation
[Source: American Red Cross Press Release]