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Desperate need for plasma donations from those recovered from COVID-19 to help critically ill patients in local hospitals right now


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The heath community of Northwest Louisiana issues a rallying cry to find donors to help critically ill COVID-19 patients.

LifeShare Blood Center is looking for people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma. It’s a dire need because the hospitals need the plasma but currently there is none available.

People who’ve recovered from COVID-19 now have the special and important ability to help others with the antibodies in their blood plasma. LifeShare Blood Centers is looking for people who were confirmed positive for the virus, recovered, and showed no symptoms for 14 days.

“We’ve had several people turn out so far. But this is a product the hospitals need quickly to help the most gravely ill COVID-19 patients. Currently we do not have any product available on our stores right not to provide hospitals,” said Benjamin Prijatel, senior director of operations LifeShare Blood Center.

The donated plasma will go to patients at area hospitals where right now the need is much greater than the supply.

“We’ve been able to help several patients in our area over the past two weeks. Unfortunately now there are physicians in Shreveport waiting on products. They’ve asked us for convalescent plasma to help their COVID-19 patients. We’ve been able to fill those many times, but today we cannot. Everyone knows someone who’s probably been affected by COVID-19. Maybe it’s a friend of a friend you’ve seen on Facebook but we really need you to reach out to them,” Prijatel said.

Willis-Knighton Health System is running a clinical trial for convalescent plasma therapy. Doctors hope the donated serum can help patients in severe conditions recover faster and possibly save lives.

“This is critical. We need people who have recovered. They need to have recovered 14 days from the onset of their symptoms. This is a really important concept. People have used antibodies from recovered patients with specific infections for about a century. It is a time-honored way to try and help people who have active, serious infections,” said Dr. Joseph Bocchini, director of children services Willis-Knighton Health System.

They need a large pool of supply available because the blood types must match.

“The person who receives it has to be the same blood type as the individual who donated. So the donation goes to the patient in the greatest need who matches that type of blood,” Bocchini said.

Importantly, one donor can benefit up to three patients.

Only those who’ve taken a coronavirus test and were confirmed positive are asked to donate. That criteria may change in the future as wide spread antibody testing becomes available.

You can donate your plasma by setting up an appointment with LifeShare on their website or contact them by phone. If you did not get sick with the virus and still would like to help, blood donations of all types are needed as well.

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