COVID-19 survivors needed to donate convalescent plasma with supply running out

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Posted at 5:22 AM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 05:22:49-04

Tens of thousands of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have received convalescent plasma as a way to try to help fight the virus.

Now the emergency supply of that plasma that comes from recovered coronavirus patients is running out.

The American Red Cross says it has seen demand for this plasma more than double over the past month as cases have increased. It is distributing that plasma faster than donations are coming in.

Franklin Myles who lives in Ohio is one of those donors. He learned about donating his plasma from a news story when he was in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. He says he didn't know if he'd survive.

"It's rewarding to be you know one of the catalyst that kind of has had it, recovered from it and can help whether it's one or 50 people or 100 people, it can help other people recover from it too."

Myles had to wait 28 days after he recovered from COVID-19 to donate.

He says the process is similar to donating blood and takes about an hour. Myles has donated three times already. He found out his last donation went to someone in Arizona. He says he plans to keep doing it every 28 days until they tell him he doesn't have antibodies anymore.

The Red Cross says each donation has the potential to help up to three patients. The medical director of the blood bank at Johns Hopkins says that so far they're seeing that convalescent plasma is very safe. Patients who have COVID-19 are able to tolerate getting it without significant side effects.

"We don't have an ability to manufacture convalescent plasma in a laboratory. As advanced as our laboratories are, there's no way for us to take ingredients and end up with a manufacturing process that leads to a unit of convalescent plasma to give to somebody who is sick with COVID-19."

doctors are still studying how effective the plasma is in helping patients recover. The doctor with Johns Hopkins says right now it seems like the earlier that patients get it...the more likely they are to have a positive outcome.

If you've recovered from COVID-19 and want to donate your plasma, you can find more information at this link.