American Red Cross altering focus with COVID-19 convalescent plasma donations

American Red Cross altering focus with COVID-19 convalescent plasma donations

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The American Red Cross is shifting priorities when it comes to blood and plamsa donations.

As previously reported, the American Red Cross was in extreme need for plasma donations earlier this year.

Indiana officials with the American Red Cross told 14 News that over the past year, tens of thousands of individuals who recovered from COVID-19 have rolled up their sleeves to help fill the need of convalescent plasma.

This is plasma rich with COVID-19 antibodies that can be used to help protect other patients from developing severe symptoms.

Blood collectors like the Red Cross have now been instructed to only collect and distribute COVID-19 convalescent plasma with the highest levels of antibodies.

14 News checked in with officials at Deaconess Health to see how this could also affect them. Doctors say that COVID-19 convalescent plasma is only effective in a small window of time after a positive COVID-19 test.

They say now because of more vaccinations, the number of people needing that plasma has gone way down. Officials say because of this development, the FDA has put certain restrictions on using COVID-19 convalescent plasma, so only the plasma with the most antibodies is used.

The Red Cross is still encouraging donors to schedule an appointment to give whole blood. From this point, plasma that tests positive for high levels of antibodies could be used as convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients.

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