LifeServe Blood Center spokeswoman Danielle West says plasma is a key part of the treatment for coronavirus patients who are in critical condition.
“That plasma has the same antibodies that the donor used to fight off the virus, so the hope is that those same antibodies will help the patient also fight off the virus,” West says. “We’ve seen great success with this locally and nationwide, so it’s a program that continues to grow and we’re looking for more and more donors because the need continues to grow.”
West says the donation process is different from many of the others LifeServe offers, like with a normal pint of blood. “You need to meet a few different eligibility requirements, one of them being having a positive test result, or believing you had it,” West says. “We’re also doing antibody testing on folks who are interested to see if they have the right antibodies to be able to donate this product.”
West anticipates the demand for plasma donations will continue to rise, so they’re looking for more of those donors. “We’re also going to start antibody testing all of our blood donors here soon, where if you come and give blood, you can find out if you have those COVID-19 antibodies after your donation, and then we’ll reach out to see if you’re interested in donating convalescent plasma,” she says.
One donation of convalescent plasma can help four people. To make an appointment or for more information, visit lifeservebloodcenter.org or call 800-287-4903. LifeServe has donor centers in Des Moines, Urbandale, Ames, Mason City, Marshalltown, Sioux City and Fort Dodge.
(By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)