Nebraskans, it’s time to pay it forward.
The Nebraska Community Blood Bank is asking Nebraska residents who have recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating blood plasma to help people who are sick with the virus in hard-hit states.
With COVID-19 spreading at record rates in some areas of the country, the blood bank is shipping plasma from recovered people, known as convalescent plasma, to states such as Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and California.
Earlier in the pandemic, thousands of recovered New Yorkers donated convalescent plasma, and many of those units were given to patients in Nebraska, blood bank officials said.
The Nebraska Community Blood Bank’s efforts to collect convalescent plasma are part of a federal initiative to increase the amount of convalescent plasma available to treat patients nationwide.
“As studies show apparent benefit, it is one of the easiest and safest potential interventions to decrease the severity of the illness,” Dr. Jed Gorlin, vice president of the blood bank, said in a statement.
The blood bank has collected more than 500 units of the plasma so far. The treatment uses plasma from eligible donors who have recovered and been symptom-free for two weeks. The plasma contains antibodies to help clear the virus more rapidly and is intended to decrease the likelihood recipients will need an intensive care bed or ventilator.
The blood bank will confirm donors are eligible and collect the plasma in a manner that allows donors to give multiple donations. Each donation collects enough to treat several patients. Eligible donors are those who have had at least moderate symptoms from a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Interested donors can sign up at NCBB.org/cpdonor.
Blood banks also need donations of blood and platelets. Healthy people can make an appointment to donate with the Nebraska Community Blood Bank at NCBB.org/donate-blood or with the American Red Cross at redcross.org/give-blood.html.