AUSTIN (KXAN) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Austin area, health care professionals are looking to get some help from those who have recently recovered.
Austin’s blood bank, We Are Blood, is in need of convalescent plasma donations to help battle the virus outbreak.
“Even if we have hundreds of convalescent plasma donations in inventory that can go away in a matter of weeks especially if we are not able to get in the number of donors to replenish that inventory,” said Nick Canedo, the vice president of community engagement for the blood bank.
Since the beginning of April, they’ve been collecting every drop. Convalescent plasma is used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients through a transfusion, in hopes of transferring some antibodies from the recovered person to the patient fighting the disease.
To date, We Are Blood has collected 3,000 units of plasma, helping 1,500 patients in the Austin area. Each person can donate anywhere from one to four units at a time.
Back in July during the first spike of the pandemic, We Are Blood officials said on average, local physician’s offices across various hospitals were requesting 120 units weekly. Now, that number is up, with the latest showing a weekly request of 138 units of convalescent plasma.
Those interested in donating must have had a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 and have fully recovered. Donors must meet certain medical history requirements and criteria. Once you’re set, screened and approved — it’s time to donate.
Donations can take up to two hours. Those at We Are Blood tell people not to worry, they’re not going to take away all of your antibodies.
“Just like we are not collecting all of your plasma, we’re not collecting all of the antibodies that would present in all of your plasma when you’re making a donation so all of your antibodies would still be there if you have them,” Canedo said.
Every donation is tested for antibodies. Donors can see their results within seven days. Those interested in donating convalescent plasma must first sign up through We Are Blood’s website.