The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Red Cross are pleading for Americans who have recovered from the novel coronavirus to donate plasma amid an ongoing shortage.
The FDA stated those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 may be able to help current virus patients by donating their plasma.
“Because you fought the infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies. These antibodies provided one way for your immune system to fight the virus when you were sick, so your plasma may be able to be used to help others fight off the disease,” the FDA explained.
The FDA said people who have been fully recovered from novel coronavirus for at least two weeks and are symptom-free may be eligible to donate plasma, the liquid part of the blood that contains antibodies.
The American Red Cross has also issued a similar plea for COVID survivors to donate plasma.
In a press release provided to Fox News, the Red Cross noted that COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to help current coronavirus patients because they are “the only source of convalescent plasma is from COVID-19 survivors.” The release said one convalescent plasma donation may help up to three coronavirus patients.
The Red Cross said it is facing an emergency shortage of the convalescent plasma because it is distributing it faster than donations are coming in. Over the past month, hospital demand for convalescent plasma has more than doubled as coronavirus cases have spiked in many states.
“It is critical that COVID-19 survivors give their antibody-rich plasma now to ensure this blood product is available to help those actively battling this coronavirus,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of American Red Cross Biomedical Services, in a statement to Fox News.
“Convalescent plasma has been used for decades as a potentially lifesaving treatment until virus or disease-specific treatments and vaccines are developed. It remains crucially important today in the fight against this COVID-19 pandemic,” Young added.
The Red Cross is collecting convalescent plasma throughout the U.S. If you’d like to donate convalescent plasma, you must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
- Have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, but are now symptom-free
- Be in good health. Be feeling well, even if you have a chronic condition
- Be at least 17 years old and weigh 110 lbs. (Additional weight requirements apply for donors age 18 or younger)
Since April, the Red Cross has collected and distributed over 20,000 lifesaving convalescent plasma products nationwide, the agency said, more donations are needed to meet the immediate demands and future patient needs.
For more information on donating plasma, click here.