Blood center wants plasma donations to help treat COVID-19

Local News

A new treatment could soon be coming to help those who contract the coronavirus.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center says it’s taking plasma donations from people who recover from the virus. Researchers say the antibodies in the plasma could help treat current patients.

You can donate your plasma if you have laboratory documentation and a physician’s referral that you were diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We can begin accepting donations from people who’ve been feeling well for two full weeks,” Kirby Winn of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center said. “And then we test that plasma donation and ensure that there’s a high enough concentration of the antibodies to be effective possibly for a patient with a current active infection of COVID-19.”

The donation is made through a process called apheresis.

“The donor is connected through sterile tubing, to a machine that separates blood components at their bedside,” Winn said. “As they make the donation, the plasma component is kept within the machine. There’s a centrifuge that spins the components of blood, and the remaining components are returned to the donor, so we’re able to collect only the plasma.”

Winn says that this treatment could help free up much needed equipment for fighting the disease.

“Hospitals are eager to have this blood component available as an option to take care of people with an active infection,” Winn said. “Because it has the potential of helping people maybe getting off the ventilator if that’s possible. Or get out of a hospital room, and that’s gonna free up resources that are greatly needed at this time.”

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