The Mayo Clinic has a message for the more than 10,000 Americans who’ve recovered from COVID-19: “Please consider donating plasma at your local blood donation center.”
Why? It may serve as a treatment for those who are still fighting the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“People who recover from COVID-19 do so, at least in part, because their blood contains substances called antibodies, which are capable of fighting the virus that causes the illness,” Mayo Clinic wrote in a post to its website. “It turns out that for some other diseases caused by viruses, giving people the liquid portion of blood (plasma), obtained from those who have recovered from the virus, leads to more rapid improvement of the disease.”
The health organization acknowledges, however, that it is still unknown if this procedure is effective in treating COVID-19 patients.
“It's not known if this treatment will or will not help those with COVID-19 or if it will have any harmful effects, but this is one of the only treatments that we have at present,” the Mayo Clinic said.
Only hospitalized COVID-19 patients who’ve been referred by their health care provider will qualify to receive plasma from recovered patients.
To receive a plasma donation, patients must be at least 18 years old, have a lab-confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus, and have either a life-threatening case of COVID-19 or have been deemed high risk of progression to life-threatening illness.
Even if you’re healthy and have not tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Red Cross still encourages you to donate blood.
Every year, cold and flu season leads to a shortage of blood donors. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated that problem.
This story was reported from Atlanta.