Milwaukee–(JULY 22, 2020) The American Red Cross announced it’s facing an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma, a type of blood donation collected from individuals who have recently recovered from coronavirus that contains antibodies that may help patients actively fighting the virus. Right now, the Red Cross is distributing convalescent plasma products faster than donations are coming in.
Over the past month, the Red Cross has seen hospital demand for convalescent plasma more than double as coronavirus cases have sharply increased in many U.S. states.
Individuals who have fully recovered and received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis are urged to sign-up to give convalescent plasma now by completing our Donor Information Form on RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.
“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. “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.”
One plasma donation can help up to three COVID-19 patients
The only source of convalescent plasma is COVID-19 survivors, giving them a unique ability to help. In fact, each convalescent plasma donation can potentially help treat up to three patients.
Currently, the Red Cross is collecting convalescent plasma at more than 170 locations throughout the U.S. to help meet patient needs. Since April, thousands of individuals who have recovered from the virus have rolled up their sleeves to help, enabling the Red Cross to collect and distribute over 20,000 lifesaving convalescent plasma products nationwide—but more donations are needed to keep-up with immediate and future patient needs.
Didn’t have COVID-19 but still want to help?
The need for blood is constant. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic thousands of Red Cross blood drives have been canceled as community organizations and businesses restrict access to many locations. The Red Cross needs the help of blood donors and blood drive hosts to ensure a stable blood supply throughout this crisis. This summer, help restock the shelves by giving whole blood or platelets to help patients battling disease and facing the unexpected.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions—including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff—have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.
Donation appointments can be made for the coming days and weeks by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.