Officials with Florida blood donation center OneBlood are calling for individuals who are eligible to donate convalescent plasma.
As coronavirus cases surge, the group says the need for plasma is extraordinarily high.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies that stay in the plasma portion of their blood, and transfusions to those still fighting the virus can boost their immune system and potentially help them recover.
OneBlood Senior Vice President Susan Forbes said they've seen a more than 500% increase in hospital orders for COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
“As quickly as donations come in, they are being processed, tested, and rushed to hospitals,” Forbes said. “People’s lives are on the line and time is of the essence.”
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said they are concerned that convalescent plasma is going to be in short supply if more people do not donate.
Responding to reports that the government wanted to stockpile supplies of convalescent plasma to have on hand for later in the year, Marks said it’s past time to stock up.
“There’s not a rainy day in the fall,” he said. “There’s a thunderstorm pouring right now, and we need to use it right now.”
Plasma can be donated every 28 days.
Those who have recovered from the coronavirus are urged to visit www.oneblood.org to see if they meet the eligibility requirements. Appointments to donate are required.