The need for blood and plasma during the pandemic
Last Thursday, North Dakota State University hosted a blood drive through the organization Vitalant. Blood and plasma donations are commonly used to treat life-threatening conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The pandemic; however, has presented a new use for these medical procedures: Covid-19 antibody testing.
In a recent interview, Jenna Steen from Vitalant touched on the life-changing benefits of donating plasma during the pandemic.
According to Steen, the procedure works by collecting a small blood sample from a recovered Covid-19 patient. The sample is then tested for antibodies. “It really can save lives,” Steen said, “you can save up to 3 lives with one donation.”
While there are still many unknowns regarding the pandemic and developing treatments, health professionals are hopeful about antibody testing.
Like most public health facilities, local blood donation centers are prioritizing the health of their patients by following strict protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Vitalant donors and visitors are required to have temperature checks upon arrival, and the implementation of mask-wearing, social distancing, increased sanitization and handwashing is being used to curb potential outbreaks.
In addition, Steen mentioned that a relatively large portion of the population should be able to safely make donations without experiencing any health complications. “All donors should be well and healthy, and meet the age, weight and general health requirements set by American Red Cross.”
More details on the American Red Cross eligibility guidelines can be found here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements.html .