What is COVID plasma and how can my blood help save a life?
If you’ve had COVID-19 and recovered, your blood most likely has developed antibodies that can attack the COVID-19 virus. Plasma, the component of your blood that contains antibodies, can be used to treat COVID-19 patients and give them a better chance of fighting off the virus. Similar plasma donations have been successfully used to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients across the world, and it appears to be the most effective treatment currently available.
Why do I need to donate blood to receive an antibody test?
There is currently an extreme shortage of blood since regular donors have stopped donating due to fear of being out in public. Therefore, the way we have set it up with LifeSouth Blood Bank, is that we will have a blood drive to collect blood donations.
Every blood specimen collected will be tested for the antibodies. Blood specimens that test positive will have their plasma extracted and that plasma will be used for COVID-19 patients. The rest of the blood, along with all of the blood that tested negative for the antibodies will be used for any use that the local hospitals need it for. In addition, donors are able to donate plasma on a weekly basis, and so we will reach out to donors who have tested positive for the antibodies and ask them to come down to the donation center to donate just their plasma.
If you are not able to donate blood, but would still like to have an antibody test to donate plasma, please get in touch with us.
Keep in mind that one blood donation can save three lives and one plasma donation can be used for two COVID patients. By participating in this initiative, you can save a lot of lives!
Who can donate plasma and who needs to be tested for antibodies?
In order for a COVID-19 patient to donate plasma, they need to have developed a sufficient level of COVID antibodies in their blood. In order to determine if a recovered COVID-19 patient has the required antibody level, a special antibody titer test is recommended for anyone who has not exhibited symptoms in seven days.
If you have had a positive COVID nasal swab test, you may be eligible to donate plasma without first requiring an antibody titer test. Please contact us for further details.
Can’t I just go to my doctor, a local lab, or local hospital to have the antibody blood test?
These special antibody tests are not widely available. We are currently working with LifeSouth Blood Bank who created this antibody test for the sole purpose of determining antibody levels for plasma donations. After a positive antibody result is received, you will be directed to the medical facility which is receiving plasma donations.
Can I go out to donate plasma even though my locality has a stay-at-home order?
Yes. Any travel for the purpose of engaging in an essential medical activity would be an exception to stay-at-home orders.
Once I have gotten my positive antibody results, can I be “less careful” assuming I have the antibodies to fight off reinfection?
No. There is absolutely no indication that the evidence of COVID antibodies tells you anything other than the potential use of your plasma to help cure others suffering from COVID.
It is dangerous to assume ANYTHING else from the antibody test results.
What does the process of a COVID-19 plasma donation entail?
Once a recovered COVID patient has tested positive with sufficient COVID antibodies, our team will work with you to schedule a donation appointment. Upon arrival at the donation facility and after initial processing, a needle is inserted into one’s arm to draw some blood. The plasma (with the COVID antibodies) is extracted from the blood and then it is returned to the body. The process repeats itself several times and takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Other than the mild discomfort of a routine blood test, the process is painless and extremely safe.