Healthy Living

What is involved in a COVID-19 plasma donation?

One of the most promising and in-demand solutions for COVID-19 positive patients is convalescent plasma therapy. Many studies have proven how effective it is in decreasing the presence of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Not only that, but it has also been published that this particular therapy decreases hospital days, lowers mortality rate, and it does not show any adverse effects or complications after administration.

Basically speaking, convalescent plasma therapy is like giving or sending expert soldiers who have already won a war to another battlefield. The plasma, which is a component of your blood, is being extracted as it contains the antibodies needed. These antibodies already know the characteristic of the coronavirus thus they can be easily triggered to attack and defend the host.

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Apart from killing the existing virus in the body, the presence of these antibodies will also be giving extended protection to the individual within months.

Who is allowed to donate?

Many laboratories from all over the world have been advertising their invitations for blood donors. The guidelines may differ from one state to another but there would be general rules to follow.

  • If you have been tested positive for COVID-19 virus
  • You have been fully recovered
  • No symptoms of coronavirus for at least 28 days (if they were not tested)
  • No symptoms of coronavirus for 14 days and has a negative result for active COVID-19

What is involved in a COVID-19 plasma donation

Once you have decided to donate your blood, you will then try to find an accredited blood donation organization like the American Red Cross, Armed Services Blood Program, Blood centers of America, American Association of Blood Banks, and more.

You will then have to expect a preliminary screening. Normally, we would go directly to a blood bank to fill out a form, but due to the social distancing implemented in an attempt to fight the spread of the pandemic, online forms are available for everyone’s perusal.

You would be asked questions like having a confirmatory laboratory test that you have a COVID-19 and if you have symptoms as of the moment. They will also be probing about the last time you have experienced any manifestation of the disease like fever, cough, colds, flu-like symptoms, body pains, headache, crushing pain on your chest, the difficulty of breathing, etc.

Once you have been qualified eligible for the donation, you will then proceed to the actual site and present identification documents. Additional evaluation will be done. This will be in a form of question and answer wherein the health care provider will be asking you about your health history. Examination of your vital signs like temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure will be done.

Once approved by the clinician, you will be guided to a room and positioned comfortably. They will be preparing you for an invasive procedure. The clinician will sanitize an area at your arm, usually at the inner folds of your elbow. A sterile needle will then be injected into the clean area to collect the blood. As you will notice, only the clear portion of the blood (plasma) will be extracted and the rest of the components are returned to your body.

You will then be given refreshments while being observed and will be allowed to leave the vicinity for about 20 minutes.

Benefits and risks of donating blood

The biggest benefit of all is that you will be saving a life with your donation. Some donors of plasma have reported dehydration, feelings of being dizzy or lightheaded, fainting, and fatigue can also be experienced. There are some cases wherein the development of bruises can be seen in the site of injection. 

Adverse effects could happen but in very rare situations. Examples of this are citrate reaction, infection, and accidental arterial puncture.