Memorial Blood Centers Seeks Donations from Recovered COVID-19 Patients
Memorial Blood Centers is always looking for donors. But during novel coronavirus pandemic, the blood bank is now asking people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood plasma.
“We will be sending the plasma to hospitals both locally, and across the country who are participating in the FDA’s investigational new drug study for the treatment,” said Erica Buege, Memorial Blood Centers communications specialist. “So right now, it’s in the process of getting FDA approval, and the hope is that antibodies contained in the donor’s plasma will help these patients’ immune systems clear the virus more quickly from their system.”
Donors must have evidence of a positive test for COVID-19 and be symptom-free for at least 14 days. One donation can be used to treat two or three patients struggling with severe cases of COVID-19.
“It’s very new and it’s very exciting,” Buege said. “We had our first convalescent plasma donor on Tuesday this week. Right now we are collecting only at our St. Paul donor center, but we will be rolling it out to other donor centers around the metro that collect plasma as well in the coming weeks and months.”
Meanwhile, Buege said that people may have some concerns about going to a site where people infected by COVID-19 have knowingly been present, but she said MBC has the necessary safeguards in place.
“We are taking many steps at all of our donor centers to practice social distancing,” Buege said. “All of our staff members wear masks or face coverings, and we ask that all donors also wear a mask or face covering. Our donor center access is restricted to only essential staff and donors, so we are taking quite a few steps to keep things safe.”
To learn more about MBC’s efforts to collect convalescent plasma, please visit mbc.org.