Florida coronavirus: Need for COVID-19 plasma spikes as cases surge

By The Numbers

ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) — OneBlood says it is in desperate need of plasma donations and the COVID-19 antibodies that come with it as coronavirus cases continue to spike in Florida and around the country.

Partially because it has become one of the first lines of defense for treating people with the coronavirus, OneBlood has experienced a 500% increase in hospital orders for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. The not-for-profit organization is now urging those who have recovered to donate theirs.

“We’ve seen a shift of utilizing convalescent plasma in patients that are outside of the intensive care unit. We are using convalescent plasma 50% more now than we were before,” said Eduardo Oliveira, an AdventHealth medical director.

According to a May 2020 study published on medRxiv, plasma donations could improve survival rates if transfusions are done early enough.

The study, conducted at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, showed that 72% of plasma recipients were discharged after 16 days.

People who have recovered from the coronavirus have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood. Through the process of transfusing that plasma into a patient still fighting the virus, it can boost their immune system and potentially help them recover.

Nationally, more than a thousand units of convalescent plasma are being transfused every day.

“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in the number of hospitals requesting plasma,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks. “We’re very concerned that convalescent plasma is going to become in short supply if we don’t have more people come out and donate.”

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