Oklahoma Blood Institute in desperate need of convalescent plasma donors

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the number of hospitalizations continue to rise across the state, the Oklahoma Blood Institute says they are in desperate need of convalescent plasma donors.

In an effort to recruit donors, OBI is launching what they say is an “aggressive new campaign.”

Starting on July 20, convalescent plasma donors will be entered for a chance to win one of the two $1,000 prizes given away to that day’s roster of convalescent plasma donors.

The need for convalescent plasma in the area has increased over 700% in the recent weeks, with demand now regularly greater than collections. Available supplies have reached critical levels, and patients will face delays in this lifesaving care if donors cannot be recruited in higher numbers.

“As the community’s blood supplier, we will do everything in our power to make sure that critically needed products are on the shelf when our hospital partners and their patients need them,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “The need is here, and even a brief delay in getting this plasma might cost a life or prolong the illness for a coronavirus victim. We’re asking all eligible convalescent plasma donors to contact OBI today to schedule an appointment to give.”

Oklahoma Blood Institute is seeing a decline in eligible plasma donors, in part due to the competition from commercial, for-profit plasma centers that are offering direct cash payments to each donor. These plasma centers are pursuing research and development for the next generation of COVID drugs that are many months away from FDA approval and will not be widely available for treating patients well into 2021. OBI needs its donors to help save patient lives right now.

A single plasma donation with OBI can provide plasma to up to four COVID-19 patients, in a process that takes about an hour and a half. 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.

“In their battle against COVID-19, patients and those caring for them need the comfort of knowing that the necessary treatment will be available for them when they need it,” Armitage said. “If this daily drawing can help be the extra push donors need to schedule their donation, the investment will more than pay off. No one can put a price on saving the life of a neighbor.”

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