Demand surges for convalescent plasma, donations sought

LifeSouth calling for plasma donations

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is putting out a plea for plasma donors.

The blood bank is asking people who have recovered from the coronavirus to donate plasma to help sick patients fight the disease.

LifeSouth says the need for convalescent plasma has increased 500 percent since the organization started collecting plasma from recovered patients in April. The demand continues to rise as the virus spreads.

When patients recover from a viral infection, they produce antibodies that can help protect against future infections.

“Convalescent plasma is a term for plasma taken from a donor who has recovered from a disease. Plasma is the liquid portion of blood where antibodies reside,” according to LifeSouth.

Doctors can transfer the antibodies in the plasma to people who are still sick, which may help them recover more quickly.

Melinda Hinds says LifeSouth is testing all blood donors for COVID-19 antibodies in search of people who could also donate convalescent plasma.

”If those antibodies are cited in the donation we will reach out to that donor and see if that donor would like to help by donating their convalescent plasma for a critically ill patient,” Hinds said.

She says the process to donate plasma takes about 45 minutes to an hour. The plasma is then taken to a hospital to help a patient who is fighting COVID-19.

For more information and to find a location to donate, visit LifeSouth’s website.

In addition to convalescent plasma donors, all blood types, especially type o, are needed as blood drives at schools and businesses continue to be canceled because of the pandemic.

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