The Blood Connection has partnered with area leaders, including health care providers PRISMA Health and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, to launch the community outreach campaign entitled “Turn Positive into a Positive,” which encourages citizens who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma.
Since plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 may contain antibodies to help fight the disease, these donations will be collected and transfused into patients who are experiencing respiratory distress. Once in the recipient’s system, the plasma may help boost their immune system into generating more antibodies to fight the disease.
“COVID-19 can progress very quickly, outpacing some patients’ immune systems’ ability to fight it off, so hospitals are using convalescent plasma as a front-line therapy to give those experiencing respiratory distress a jump start,” said TBC’s medical director, Dr. Robert Rainer. “The effect of this treatment in some COVID patients is quite impressive, and convalescent plasma has saved the lives of many people throughout the country.”
In addition, TBC received a $417,000 CARES grant to outfit all of its collection facilities and mobile donation vehicles with the equipment needed to receive convalescent plasma as well as launch the outreach campaign.
“The bad news is that there is an urgent need to keep plasma on the shelves to help save lives here in the Upstate,” said TBC President and CEO Delisa English. “The good news is that this gives many of us an easy opportunity to take back a portion of our power over an illness that has left many of us feeling helpless. We really hope that everyone who’s beaten this disease will donate to turn their positive test result into a positive outcome for those who might otherwise be lost to the pandemic.”
TBC is able to take plasma donations as often as every 14 days. Donors are requested to provide proof of a positive COVID-19 test and must have been symptom-free for at least 14 days. If a donor thinks they have had COVID-19 but are not able to provide proof, they may donate blood and TBC will test for the donation for antibodies. If the regular blood donation has COVID-19 antibodies, TBC will be able to pull one plasma donation from it.
In the coming weeks, TBC will conduct social media and media outreach, launch advertisements and host a series of events with local businesses, sports teams, politicians and universities to encourage convalescent plasma donations.
For more information, visit positive2positive.com.