If you recovered from COVID-19, it means your immune system fought and won. That’s good news! It also means you have antibodies that could help others fight it off, too. That’s great news!
“There have already been a few cases in North Dakota where convalescent plasma treatment has proven beneficial for patients infected with COVID-19. This is a unique opportunity for someone who has recovered from COVID-19 to potentially save a life.” – Dr. Joan Connell, field medical officer with the NDDoH
Your plasma, within your blood, can be given directly to a patient battling COVID-19 or used to create other medicinal therapies to reduce the severity of COVID-19.
“Within 24 hours of the plasma therapy both patients had the breathing tubes removed and they made a miraculous recovery. We were able to go down on the ventilator, the oxygen and the amount of oxygen that they needed.” – Kristen Renner, CHI St. Alexius ICU Clinical Supervisor after discharging two of the first patients to receive convalescent plasma in North Dakota
Here are some questions to commonly asked questions:
Q: How do I know if I’m eligible to give convalescent plasma?
A: You need to provide documentation of either a prior laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 (by a positive nasal/oral swab test) OR a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Vitalant requires you to be symptom-free for at least 28 days before donating plasma. BioLife requires you to be symptom-free for at least 14 days. You will also need to meet other donor eligibility requirements.
Q: Will BioLife or Vitalant test me for the coronavirus?
A: No, these centers do not test for coronavirus. Do not attempt to donate blood or plasma if you are sick.
Q: What is plasma, and how do they take it?
A: Plasma is the clear, straw-colored liquid portion of blood that remains after red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are removed. It is collected much like donating blood, but the plasma is separated from your blood and then your blood is returned to your system. Watch a short video to understand the process.
Q: How often can I donate plasma?
A: The body replaces the plasma removed during the donation process quickly; therefore, healthy individuals can donate as often as twice in a seven-day period, with at least one day between donations.
Q: Will I get paid for donating plasma?
A: At BioLife, you will be compensated because your plasma will help to develop medicines and other clinical uses. Vitalant does not provide compensation because your donation will be directly transfused into a patient who needs it. Direct transfusion is not eligible for compensation, but it can provide immediate life-saving plasma to a patient in need.
Q: How long does it take to donate plasma?
A: On a donor’s first visit, the whole process, including medical screenings and the plasma donation, usually takes about two hours. Repeat donors generally spend approximately an hour in the center, with the average donation process taking around 45 minutes.
Q: At BioLife, what kinds of medicines and therapies will my plasma help develop?
A: BioLife Plasma Services utilizes Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited to maximize the individual and societal benefit of convalescent plasma in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Takeda is exploring whether select marketed therapies and molecules in its drug library could be viable candidates for the effective treatment of COVID-19. These efforts are at an early stage but being given a high priority within the company. You can learn more here.
Q: How do I get started with donating plasma?
- To donate at Vitalant, begin at vitalant.org/COVIDfree
- To donate at BioLife, go to biolifeplasma.com/us/donor-register