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CSL Plasma doctor: Plasma centers facing shortage of donations for critically ill patients

Posted at 12:02 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 19:31:51-04

CLEVELAND — Doctors and medical experts across the country are turning to plasma donations as a treatment method for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Last month the Food and Drug Administration suggested that convalescent plasma has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by the virus. The agency said convalescent plasma is an antibody-rich product made from blood donated by people who have recovered from the disease caused by the virus.

The senior medical director at CSL Plasma, Dr. Toby Simon, said his company, along with many other plasma companies across the country, are collaboratively working with medical and health experts to use the donated plasma from recovered patients to then administer to those who are battling COVID-19.

But, Dr. Simon said, they need more donors who've recovered from the virus to donate.

"There is a significant patient need for the products," Dr. Simon said. "It's something you can do to help your fellow human beings."

However, not only do they need more donors to help COVID-19 patients, but they need plasma to create other products to help people battling other diseases.

"There's a whole host of diseases and we make a large number of products to or inherited diseases and some in intensive care," he said.

Dr. Simon said they were already facing a plasma shortage prior to the pandemic and predicts it could get even worse.

"We find a number of physician are using our immunoglobulin product trying it out in the context of the pandemic, using it on the critically ill patients. So this could possibly increase the shortage for the other patients. So that's why it's so important if people donate their plasma if they possibly can," Dr. Simon said.

Dr. Simon said recovered COVID-19 patients can donate plasma after 14 days of no symptoms with proof of the diagnosis.

At CSL Plasma donors must: Be in good health, 18 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, have valid identification and a permanent address and no tattoos or piercings within the last 12 months.

Other requirements can be found here.

Plus, CSL Plasma pays for plasma donations. Donors can make $200-$300 a month from donations.

RELATED: OSU doctors use plasma transfusion from recovered COVID-19 patients as recovery treatment for virus

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