SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - In the United States, more than a million people have recovered from COVID-19, and we now know for sure, that those patients who have recovered can help save others. Doctors are using the antibody-rich plasma to treat patients struggling with the virus. The hope is that with the antibodies will help jump-start patients’ immune systems.
“Our hospitals are in desperate need of convalescent plasma right now,” said Joan Leonard from the Suncoast Blood Bank.
With no cure or vaccine for coronavirus yet, convalescent plasma has been one of the best forms of treatment for patients in the ICU. Before, you would need to have positive test results for COVID-19 to be able to donate your plasma, but things have changed. Anyone can sign up to donate their blood, but can also get tested for COVID-19 antibodies - which allows people to save lives in more ways than one. Now, Suncoast Blood Bank has started a program with first responders.
“Our first responders are our front line, so they are out in the community where we do have people that are infected. They’re also a healthy part of our community. They’re robust and strong, and out their protecting us, so some of them may have had the virus asymptomatically. By testing them now, they might have been infected a month or two months ago, so coming forward now they would have the antibodies that are so badly needed in our hospitals,” explained Leonard.
So far this week, more than 60 first responders in Bradenton have gone to Suncoast Blood Centers to donate blood and get tested for antibodies.
Even if they were asymptomatic, and not knowingly recovered from COVID-19, they will now be able to help dozens of coronavirus patients in the hospital. Each of these donors can help save up to three lives – every month.
“First responders have a heart to help people. NO matter which way. Whether it’s solving a burglary, or working a traffic crash or donating blood, we are in this for our community. That’s what we do. This is just one more way to give back,” Captain Brian Thiers, with the Bradenton Police Department, expressed.
For information on how to donate plasma, visit here.