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American Red Cross looks to convalescent plasma donations to help those battling coronavirus

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients could benefit people who are still sick

RICHMOND, Va. – If you’ve recovered from coronavirus, you can possibly help others still sick with the virus.

American Red Cross is working with the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration and hospital partners to collect plasma donations from recovered coronavirus patients. It’s to help those in the hospital still battling the virus.

In a press release, the Red Cross mentions everyone has been working very hard to figure out how to collect convalescent plasma safely since the FDA made an announcement on the initiative at the end of March.

“I know this is a passion point for our teams across the United States and across the commonwealth so that’s how we’re looking at it. If it helps one patient, then it was worth the challenge and we’re ready to try to get this to as many patients as possible as quickly as possible,” said Jonathan McNamara, regional communications director at American Red Cross of Virginia.

McNamara tells 10 News healthcare professionals across the country believe using these plasma treatments could have an incredible benefit for those with serious or immediate life-threatening COVID-19 infections.

The belief is those recovered patients could have antibodies.

Convalescent plasma is different from normal plasma so not everyone is eligible to donate.

In its press release, the American Red Cross also explains that out of the thousands who applied online to donate, only a small percent met the FDA criteria.

“It starts with having a positive coronavirus test that indicates you have had the virus and then having a negative test being symptom free for a period of time. And that’s an indication from the FDA you may have the antibodies required to be able to offer plasma to patients battling the virus,” said McNamara.

American Red Cross is doing testing with partners to see if they can expand the pool of eligible donors. For the list of criteria and an eligibility form, click here.

McNamara also wanted to give this region a big thank you for stepping up and answering the call to donate blood in the last several weeks. As surgeries start back up, the demand for blood will grow.

There are fewer donation opportunities because of canceled blood drives so the American Red Cross is asking you to make blood donation appointments weeks in advance. To make an appointment click here.


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