About Convalescent Plasma
Convalescent plasma is different from AB plasma. COVID-19 convalescent plasma specifically, has been collected and transfused as a response to the pandemic, starting in April 2020.
- What is convalescent plasma: Convalescent plasma is plasma that contains high levels of specific antibodies that might help fight that infection – in this case, COVID-19 antibodies. Historically, convalescent plasma has been used as a potentially lifesaving treatment in some situations when new diseases or infections develop quickly, and no treatments or vaccines were available yet. Recent scientific evidence has shown that COVID-19 convalescent plasma with high levels of antibodies, that is administered to hospitalized patients early in the disease course, can have some clinical benefit. Convalescent plasma continues to be an important component of the toolbox, particularly for the right patient population including immunosuppressed patients, to fight this pandemic.
- How is convalescent plasma used: Convalescent plasma is transfused to patients battling a specific illness to provide antibodies that might help fight that infection. Often, convalescent plasma programs are temporary and discontinue once other treatments for the illness are discovered or the illness is no longer prevalent.
- Donating convalescent plasma: The Red Cross is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Plasma from routine blood and platelet donations that test positive for high levels of antibodies may be used as convalescent plasma to meet potential future needs of COVID-19 patients. The Red Cross stopped collecting plasma-only convalescent plasma donation March 27, 2021. Fortunately, thanks to the tens of thousands of convalescent plasma donors who have given throughout the pandemic, the Red Cross and the greater blood industry have been able to build a sufficient inventory of COVID-19 convalescent plasma to meet the foreseeable hospital demand at this time.
All blood types and donation types are needed to ensure a stable blood supply to help all kinds of patients every day across the country.
The Red Cross urges eligible individuals who are feeling well to please make an appointment today to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS.
With more and more individuals receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, the Red Cross wants people to know that, in most cases, there is no blood donation deferral time after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. However, knowing the name of the vaccine manufacturer is important in determining blood donation eligibility. View a video on blood donation and COVID-19 vaccines.