Florida Needs Your Blood Donations to Fight COVID-19

Red blood cells

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By Giselle Balido

July 20, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of plasma for patients who are critically ill with coronavirus.

FLORIDA — On Monday, as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continues to rise, bringing the state total to 360,394, Gov. Ron DeSantis called on fellow Floridians who have recovered from coronavirus to donate blood, reports the Miami Herald.

This is so that their plasma can be used to treat patients of COVID-19 across the Sunshine State. Plasma therapy, an experimental practice that has been used in patients to treat infectious outbreaks like SARS and Ebola, takes blood from those who have recovered from a viral infection and injects it into patients who are still sick.

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According to the experts, the antibodies in plasma could help someone fight off the infection, as well as lessen its severity while waiting for other more effective treatments and a vaccine to be created.

In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency the use of plasma for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19.

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It Comes With Some Risks

But plasma therapy can come with some risks. Dr. Timothy Schacker, the vice dean for research at the University of Minnesota, told the Miami Herald earlier this year that the main risk is accidentally giving a sick patient “an unknown infectious disease or malady the donor may be carrying in their blood.”


Also, when it comes to coronaviruses, giving the wrong kind of antibody to a patient could worsen the infection, Dr. Michael Farzan, co-chair of Scripps College’s Immunology and Microbiology department in Claremont, California, told the Herald. But he added that those errors generally happen in vaccines, not convalescent serums like plasma therapies.

OneBlood, a blood bank that serves all the hospitals in South Florida, collects convalescent plasma donations seven days a week. It also screens donors to make sure they qualify for the procedure.



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