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San Diego Blood Bank Asks For Convalescent Plasma As COVID-19 Cases Increase

A doctor holds a donation of convalescent plasma from a recovered COVID-19 pa...

Photo by Arnulfo Franco / AP

Above: A doctor holds a donation of convalescent plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient in this May 13, 2020, file photo.

As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to spike in San Diego County and throughout the country, the San Diego Blood Bank put out another plea Wednesday for donations of COVID-19 convalescent plasma used to treat patients battling the illness.

According to the blood bank, orders for the plasma — taken from the blood of those who developed antibodies upon recovering from the virus — have tripled in the last month, as have hospitalizations.

San Diego Blood Bank was one of the first blood banks in the country to begin collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma. In addition to supplying local hospitals, the blood bank has supported surge centers and other blood banks across the country.

Anyone previously diagnosed with COVID-19 can sign up at sandiegobloodbank.org/donateplasma.

All blood donations are being tested for antibodies as part of the blood bank's standard testing panel in order to qualify donations for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. If a donation tests positive, the plasma in the donated blood may be used to help hospital patients fighting COVID-19.

Historically, convalescent plasma has been successfully used to treat SARS, MERS and the Spanish flu, so there is evidence that it may help people suffering from certain infectious diseases like COVID-19.

"We need anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to contact us to see if they are eligible to donate their plasma," said David Wellis, CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank. "The need has already increased over the last couple of weeks and we anticipate even more requests from hospitals as we head into the new year."

Appointments are required to donate blood and convalescent plasma.

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