TAMPA, Fla. — Blood centers are putting out a desperate call to recovered coronavirus patients: they need your convalescent plasma.
“It’s a team effort to save a life, but in this instance, it starts with that donor,” said OneBlood’s Susan Forbes.
OneBlood, a not-for-profit blood donation organization, started collecting convalescent plasma in April. Convalescent plasma has been used for some patients as a treatment for COVID-19.
But now, the organization says the need for it is surging across its service area, which covers much of the southeast U.S. and Florida
“From May until now in a comparison, we’ve had an increase of over 500 percent in the demand from hospitals,” said Forbes.
Forbes explains the increase in demand is not just because of the rise in cases, but also because some hospitals are using convalescent plasma at different stages in the treatment process.
“When this first started in April, this was really used for patients who were in critical condition in the ICU,” says Forbes. “But now, we’re being told that they're using this more often with people who are not in the ICU but having breathing problems.”
To donate convalescent plasma, you could have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered or had a positive antibody test, but you need to have been symptom-free for at least 14 days.
OneBlood says if you donate and only plasma is collected, you can donate again in 28 days, but if you donated through a whole blood collection, you need to wait at least 56 days.
“It’s a wonderful gift you are giving to somebody who is fighting for their life, and you have that ability to do that and we hope that you will act upon it and help these patients,” said Forbes.
For more information on donating convalescent plasma, click here.