The Blood Bank of Alaska has a request of those who have recovered fully from the COVID-19 coronavirus: Donate plasma.
At the request of the Food and Drug Administration, the blood bank seeks donations because they may contain antibodies that can help treat critically ill patients infected with the coronavirus.
While clinical trials are still being performed for widespread use of the treatment, the FDA has authorized patients with, or at risk of, severe or life-threatening COVID-19 disease to receive “convalescent plasma” treatment.
Volunteer donors must have previously tested positive for COVID-19 but must also be free of symptoms. In Alaska, that would apply to 85 people at this point. Some of those, such as anyone with HIV or hepatitis, would not be eligible to donate plasma. HIV and hepatitis are two viruses that would prevent potential donors from being able to assist in this health crisis.
Generally, people 18 or older who weigh at least 110 pounds and have had no tattoos or piercings within the last 12 months would meet the criteria.
Donating plasma is similar to giving blood and takes about two hours. Whole blood is removed and the plasma is separated from the red blood cells and other components; the blood is returned to your body with sterile saline solution to help your body replace the plasma.
Mercy Hospital in St. Louis is among institutions that have reported that patients have recovered who were treated with convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19.
Prospective donors may contact the blood bank at (907) 222-5630 for questions regarding eligibility or visit https://www.bloodbankofalaska.org/covid-19 for more information on convalescent plasma, as well as how to become a donor.
Blood Bank of Alaska is only collecting plasma at their Anchorage main center (located at 1215 Airport Heights), and in Fairbanks facility (located at 3010 Airport Way).