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Your Healthy Family: Need for convalescent plasma for COVID treatment is growing

Posted at 11:27 AM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 13:27:32-04

The Wall Street Journal has previously reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is nearing a decision to issue an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals and doctors have been using the experimental therapy as part of a study or under compassionate use protocols, and the move by the FDA would allow for easier and more widespread use. But right now the supply of convalescent plasma is running low.

COVID-19 hit the Myles family hard, infecting four members sending dad Franklin to the hospital. Franklin says, "It got to a point where I could not maintain my oxygen level on my own."

Once recovered, Franklin says it was important to him to donated convalescent plasma. "I believe this is one of the most noble things, just by being human, to do for other people."

Plasma is the liquid portion of blood that is rich in proteins and antibodies and has been used to treat other outbreaks including Sars, Mers, and Ebola. While more research is needed to prove its effectiveness against coronavirus, anecdotal evidence suggests it works.

Dr. Eric Gehrie, with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says "It is believed that plasma contains part of the survivor's immune system that can be used to help somebody who is currently sick with COVID-19 to recover more quickly."

As COVID cases spike in numerous states, the American Red Cross has seen hospital demand for convalescent plasma more than double, reducing the supply by more than 70-percent

Dr. Pampee Young is the Chief Medical Officer with the Red Cross who explains, "We are depleting our COVID-19 plasma inventory faster than we can replace it."

Now the organization is issuing an urgent plea for donors, like Franklin. While Franklin didn't receive convalescent plasma as part of his treatment, he says wants to do all he can to possibly help others. "I'm getting ready to schedule my fourth donation."

To be eligible you must have received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis and be fully recovered.

If you want more information in the Colorado Springs area, about how to donate or if you have any questions you can contact Vitalant blood donation center by visiting (https://www.vitalant.org/covidfree)