Blood centers in desperate need for convalescent plasma

One donation of convalescent plasma can help up to 3 patients.
One donation of convalescent plasma can help up to 3 patients.(KOLN)
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 11:29 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Without a vaccine on the market for COVID-19, medical experts are looking for treatments.

One of those being studied is a remedy dating back over a century called convalescent plasma therapy. The problem is, blood centers across the country are barely meeting the demand.

A Limestone County man told WAFF his wife has been in the hospital for a week. They are encouraged and feeling blessed because she received convalescent plasma to aid her recovery.

Friday, the family and blood centers across the nation are encouraging people who were once sick to donate blood.

“COVID has been something that has rocked not only Alabama, but our whole entire world,” said Kami May, District Community Development Coordinator for LifeSouth.

As Coronavirus continues to spread, the need for convalescent plasma is on the rise.

“This gives patients who were affected by the virus a fighting chance to live.”

The blood from recovered Covid-19 patients contains antibodies capable of fighting the virus.

“When you give blood at Life South, it is taken as a whole blood, or it can be broken down into different components. One of those components is the convalescent plasma, which is the driving force to help patients fight the covid-19 virus.”

But LifeSouth is stretched thin. Every day the organization receives around 20 units of blood to share with 17 hospitals across North Alabama.

“It is really important for us to replenish once we have given out. Daily is what we truly need.”

A spokesperson for The Huntsville Hospital Health System said the hospital orders blood from Life South when needed. There tends to be a 24 hour turn around rate. Patients must meet requirements before receiving plasma: they must be admitted to the hospital with severe breathing issues, elderly, or have other significant illnesses.

“It truly does take a community to save a life. You don’t have to be a firefighter; you don’t have to be a doctor to save a life. You truly can come in and give blood.”

One unit of convalescent plasma can save four lives.

If you’ve had Coronavirus and are 17 or older, you can go to any LifeSouth site to donate.

It takes about 45 minutes and you can sign up online by clicking here

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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