GREAT FALLS — If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, the American Red Cross wants you to donate plasma. The plasma is being given to COVID-19 patients as a possible treatment.
The plasma from someone who has recovered from the virus contains antibodies that may attack the virus in people who are sick.
The Red Cross says that during a plasma donation, blood is drawn from an arm and sent through a machine that collects your plasma and then safely and comfortably returns your red cells back to you, along with some saline. Because of this process, donating plasma does take longer than a regular whole blood donation. To help meet the growing need for this product to treat COVID-19 patients, eligible individuals can donate their convalescent plasma with the Red Cross every seven days for up to three months.
The Red Cross chapters in Great Falls and Missoula are the only two in Montana where this plasma can be donated. Once it’s been donated, it’s distributed as needed across the country with priority being given to hospitals in Montana.
"I think donors are really stepping up right now to donate and we're testing every donation for the antibodies, so that's pretty cool. I've gotten numbers of calls from people that want to donate and try to help people out,” said Scott Shanahan, Great Falls Red Cross Donor Recruitment Representative.
As of November 17, Red Cross chapters nationwide had distributed more than 70,000 units of the plasma.
To donate, you must be at least 17 years old, have been recovered from the virus for at least 14 days, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Click here to visit the Red Cross website for more information.