Versiti Blood Centers today issued an urgent plea to those who have previously been infected with COVID-19 to “pay it forward” by donating COVID convalescent plasma (CCP). With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations soaring to new levels, the organization is struggling to keep up with hospital needs. The need for COVID convalescent plasma at hospitals served by Versiti has doubled in the last four weeks and is expected to continue to increase very rapidly as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
“We are facing a critical need,” said Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical officer at Versiti. “Without intervention from the community, we face the very real possibility that we won’t be able to fill orders for patients in hospitals we serve. This important therapy cannot be manufactured. It comes from generous volunteer donors in our communities who have recovered from COVID and now are able to help hospitalized patients in those very same communities.”
COVID convalescent plasma is a blood-related therapy used by hospitals to treat the most severely affected patients. The donated plasma contains antibodies, which can help seriously ill patients fight the infection.
Versiti has reached unprecedented levels of demand for COVID convalescent plasma. In recent days, COVID convalescent plasma has been shipping out to local hospitals three times faster than it is coming in. To date, the organization has been able to meet the needs of hospitals with the assistance of other blood centers. However, with COVID cases rising across the country, Versiti is fearful that those backup resources might soon not be available.
“Currently inventory levels of COVID convalescent plasma are an enormous concern; our inventory levels have dwindled from four weeks to four days,” said Dr. Waxman. “We’re pleading with the community – if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID and have been symptom free for 14 days, please consider giving an hour of your time to help others who are facing an uphill climb in battling the virus.”
Those who are interested in donating COVID convalescent plasma are asked to visit versiti.org/covid19plasma. CCP donors are generally eligible to donate up to 12 times.