Blood Bank of Alaska looking for donors who have recovered from COVID-19

Published: May. 12, 2020 at 3:43 PM AKDT
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The Blood Bank of Alaska said they are in need of more donations as elective surgeries come back, but they have their eye on a small group of people.

"We're particularly looking for what are called convalescent plasma units, and convalescent plasma units are units that we are able to collect from patients who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus," said Robert Scanlon, the Chief Executive Officer of the Blood Bank of Alaska.

The request comes after the FDA’s effort to offer another form of treatment for critically ill COVID-19.

According to the Blood Bank of Alaska, clinical trials are still being performed with convalescent plasma units, but the FDA authorized treatment using the plasma for those battling severe cases.

"They have developed antibodies against the virus that we are able to collect in the plasma and physicians are able to infuse into a patient who is in severe condition because of the antibodies,” Scanlon said.

According to Scanlon, this treatment has not yet been used in Alaska, but donations are still able to be used for up to a year. About a dozen Alaskans have donated convalescent plasma.

“That's my part in helping with others,” said Sarah DeFazio, a mother living in Eagle River who recovered from COVID-19. “I wanted to help. You feel helpless in a world that needs help and this was my way of helping others.”

According to a release from the Blood Bank, there is currently no evidence to indicate the virus responsible for causing COVID-19 can be transmitted through blood transfusion.

Donors must have had a documented diagnosis and have been symptom free for at least 28 days or be symptom free for two weeks with a negative test result for COVID-19.