New York Blood Center: Plasma donors needed for COVID treatment

After surviving COVID-19’s peak, New York has the largest pool of eligible donors who can help save lives

AmNews Staff Reports | 8/13/2020, midnight
New York Blood Center is calling on New Yorkers who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma to help ...
health/lab Martin Lopez/Pexel photo

New York Blood Center is calling on New Yorkers who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma to help critically ill patients across the country. NYBC estimates 7,000 donations per week are needed to combat the virus. Right now, collections are far below that target.

In the treatment, known as convalescent plasma, the patient is transfused with the donor’s plasma with the goal of using the donor’s antibodies to help clear the virus more rapidly. When COVID-19 was at its peak in New York, thousands came forward to donate to help their neighbors. NYBC created the first public bank of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in March and now maintains the nation’s largest supply with 40,000 units distributed to date. As COVID-19 spreads at historic rates, NYBC is shipping convalescent plasma to hot spots around the country.

“Now is an extremely critical time to donate plasma because cases are surging throughout the U.S. at alarming rates. In our experience, convalescent plasma is a life saver and no person in need, anywhere, should go without it,” said Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, president and CEO of New York Blood Center. “Until a vaccine arrives, convalescent plasma is lining up as ‘first-choice therapy’ for this deadly disease. If you are eligible, please come in and donate so we can help treat as many patients as possible. It truly is a matter of life and death.”

Donors must have tested positive for COVID-19 and be symptom-free for 14 days. One donation can be used to treat two to three patients struggling with severe cases of COVID-19. Interested donors can sign up at nybc.org/covidplasma.

NYBC is one of the largest independent blood centers in the world. Its network serves local communities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Rhode Island. With cities across the country being heavily impacted by the virus, NYBC plans to distribute its resources to the areas that need it the most.

Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the world. NYBC, along with its operating divisions Community Blood Center of Kansas City, Missouri, Innovative Blood Resources, Blood Bank of Delmarva, and Rhode Island Blood Center, collect approximately 4,000 units of blood products each day and serve local communities of more than 75 million people in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT), Mid Atlantic area (PA, DE, MD, VA), Missouri and Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England. NYBC and its operating divisions also provide a wide array of transfusion-related medical services to over 500 hospitals nationally, including Comprehensive Cell Solutions, the National Center for Blood Group Genomics, the National Cord Blood Program, and the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, which, among other milestones, developed a practical screening method for hepatitis B as well as a safe, effective and affordable vaccine, and a patented solvent detergent plasma process innovating blood-purification technology worldwide.