Plasma from Red Cross blood donors helps people with COVID-19

Plasma from Red Cross blood donors helps people with COVID-19
Plasma taken from whole blood donations from individuals previously diagnosed with COVID-19 can help the most critically ill patients fighting the coronavirus because it contains antibodies. (Source: Ryan Koresko)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Plasma taken from whole blood donations from individuals previously diagnosed with COVID-19 can help the most critically ill patients fighting the coronavirus because it contains antibodies.

“Donations that come back positive for COVID-19 antibodies now undergo secondary testing to confirm antibody results, and that enables the Red Cross to then potentially use the plasma from those donations for COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services. “With approximately 2% of the U.S. population testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, every donation is important to ensure patients with coronavirus have access to every treatment option available to them.”

Shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak, the Red Cross began collecting convalescent plasma from previously diagnosed individuals, but were only able to do so at 170 Red Cross blood donation centers across the country.

Now, whole blood donations can be made at any Red Cross blood drive or blood donation center and donors are needed this fall to maintain the blood supply amid the ongoing pandemic.

Antibody testing indicates whether a donor’s immune system has produced coronavirus antibodies, regardless of whether an individual has experienced symptoms of the virus.

Eligible individuals can schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by downloading the free Blood Donor App.

Those who give blood by the end of September will receive a free haircut coupon from participating Sports Clip Haircuts locations. In October, donors could win one of five $1,000 Amazon.com gift cards.

All Red Cross blood drive and donation centers adhere to the highest safety standards and follow CDC and state mandated guidelines for COVID-19.

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