The Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 and may be able to donate plasma, according to a news release. People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. Plasma is the clear, straw-colored liquid in the blood that remains when red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are removed.
This effort is meant to help current patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.
This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients seriously ill with COVID-19. Historically, convalescent plasma has been used as a potentially lifesaving treatment when new diseases or infections develop quickly, and no treatments or vaccines were available yet. The Red Cross has been asked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help identify prospective donors and manage the distribution of these products to hospitals treating patients in need.
If you currently have or suspect that you have COVID-19 and have questions about your health, please contact your healthcare professional first for a clinical diagnosis and testing.
There is more information about the Red Cross program at this website: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/plasma-donations-from-recovered-covid-19-patients.html.
LifeSouth is partnering with medical centers in Florida, Georgia and Alabama to collect the plasma from COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the virus, to transfuse to patients with COVID-19 to help with recovery, according to a second release.
Recovered COVID-19 patients who were tested and found positive can donate plasma if they have not had symptoms for at least 14 days and test negative by a lab, or after 28 days without symptoms with no follow-up testing required.
Again, the treatment is considered an investigational new drug by the FDA and collected donations will be sent to medical centers to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients. The plasma contains antibodies that might help fight the virus.
Potential donors can email LifeSouth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 795-2707.
In addition to the request for plasma, the Red Cross continues to encourage healthy individuals to schedule and keep blood donation appointments in the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic. Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions have been implemented to ensure the health of Red Cross donors, employees and volunteers.
Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate later this month and after by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Donors are also asked to make an appointment to donate in order to help manage the flow of donors appropriately in support of social distancing practices.