Oklahoma Blood Institute in urgent need of convalescent plasma donors to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Blood Institute is welcoming walk-in convalescent plasma donors due to an urgent need for plasma donations that will go toward treating severely ill COVID-19 patients across the state.

Convalescent plasma donor walk-ins are welcome at both donor centers and open-to-public mobile blood drives, according to an Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) news release.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 or tested positive for the antibodies are eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

“To donate convalescent plasma, donors must have had a positive COVID-19 test result, be symptom-free for 14 days and be at least 7 days past their last blood or plasma donation,” the news release states.

Donors who meet the above requirements can walk into a donor center or an OBI mobile blood drive and let Blood Institute staff know they would like to donate convalescent plasma.

“Before now, we were relying solely on our registration system to track convalescent plasma donors. However, the surge of COVID-19 patients in our community hospitals has changed the landscape of how we’re recruiting eligible donors to meet the ever-increasing demand for this life-saving product,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute.

OBI personnel began collecting convalescent plasma in early April, after it showed promise in treating patients who had severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The Blood Institute now operates under an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, and has a “constant, urgent need for convalescent plasma donors,” according to the news release.

“The earlier in their care that seriously ill COVID-19 patients receive convalescent plasma, the more likely they will see a better outcome. A single plasma donation can provide transfusions for up to four COVID-19 patients. A donation takes about 90 minutes and donors are eligible as often as every seven days,” the news release states.

OBI is currently holding a systemwide daily drawing for convalescent plasma donors who are automatically entered to win a daily $1,000 VISA gift card, drawn at random.

Blood Institute administrators urge Oklahomans to find a donor center or mobile blood drive at obi.org, or call 888-308-3924 to make an appointment to donate convalescent plasma.

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