SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)—As coronavirus cases surge, hospitals are in need of plasma donations now more than ever.
WSAV.com NOW reporter Claire Going has a closer look at the nonprofit working to collect donations that could potentially save lives.
Hospitals are facing a shortage of convalescent plasma due to the increase in coronavirus cases.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in their plasma. By transfusing plasma from a person who has recovered from COVID-19 into a patient still fighting the virus, it can boost their immune system and potentially help them recover.
“The earlier we can have it, the more readily available convalescent plasma is, the less deaths we’re going to have from COVID-19 and the better outcomes we’re going to have,” Chief Medical Officer at Boca Raton Regional Hospital Samer Fahmy said.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling for more people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma. Doctors say there are now waiting lists for convalescent plasma donations.
“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in the number of hospitals requesting plasma,” Director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks said. “We’re suspecting that convalescent plasma is going to become in short supply if we don’t have more donors come out.”
OneBlood donation centers are working to collect plasma donations from people who have recently recovered from the coronavirus.
“It is an around-the-clock effort. But it is a revolving door. As quickly as donations come in, they are being processed, tested, and they are rushed to hospitals,” Senior VP of Public Relations for OneBlood Susan Forbes said. “These are people’s lives that are on the line and time is of the essence.”
Plasma can be donated every 28 days. People who have recovered from the coronavirus are urged to visit www.oneblood.org to see if they meet the eligibility requirements to be a convalescent plasma donor. Appointments are required.