COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, plasma donation centers have seen a demand for convalescent plasma to help fight the virus.
The American Red Cross said that the program is seeing an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma. It's a type of blood donation from people who have recovered from COVID-19 that might help others who are actively fighting the virus.
Joe Zydlo, American Red Cross Blood Services External Communications Manager said it is more important than ever to donate plasma because it could potentially save others.
Zydlo said plasma products are being sent out faster than the donations are coming in, so the demand for it is very high.
“We've seen a demand for convalescent plasma more than double over the last month as the number of coronavirus cases has increased over and across the country,” Zydlo said. “But I think the encouraging thing about this and the reason we have this emergency shortage of convalescent plasma is the fact that it's working, it's helping COVID-19 patients recover.”
According to a news release from the American Red Cross, since April there have been thousands of plasma donors. The Red Cross said it collected and distributed more 20,000 convalescent plasma products nationwide, including 450 units in Missouri.
Zydlo said the American Red Cross has heard from health professionals throughout the area, especially in St. Louis, that convalescent plasma works and more is needed.
Zydlo said having the COVID-19 antibodies in your blood and donating that plasma to those who may be more compromised has proved to help patients.
“As we see more of these cases,” Zydlo said. “The need is going to continue to grow, because again, it doesn't look like it's going to cap anytime soon.”
Cameron Dubbert is a manager at Plasma Biological Services Inc, a donation center in Columbia. The center has seen a similar trend. He said the center was in need plasma donations during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, but recently it has seen more donations.
“Honestly they were kind of down,” Dubbert said. “Roughly around June is when they started kind of going back up and then this month we've seen them come right back up.”
Dubbert said the company as a whole has seen a 50/50 split in it's convalescent plasma donors and other plasma donors.
Dubbert said it's convalescent plasma donation program is fairly new, so the company expects to see the number of donors continue to increase.
“Plasma donation is as important as ever,” Dubbert said. “Whether it be for convalescent plasma to help fight COVID-19 or if it's just a regular plasma donation to help people in need.”
In order to donate convalescent plasma you must have COVID-19 antibodies in your blood and meet all other regular blood donation requirements.