December 3, 2020 - 2:05 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — If you’re someone who has had COVID-19, your fellow northwest Iowans could use your help. That’s from Dr. Amy Badberg, a physician at Sanford Sheldon Medical Center.

She tells us if you’ve had it, your body has something that new or critically-ill COVID patients could use.

 

(as said:) “The convalescent plasma is plasma that’s been taken from people who have had covid and recovered from it. And so what we are hoping with giving patients that are actively having COVID and are really sick with it… that we’re giving their immune system a boost by other people’s immune system helping them.”

Badberg tells us that plasma is the fluid part of your blood, minus the red and white blood cells. And she says the plasma is where antibodies live, such as the COVID antibodies that can fight off COVID.

(as said:) “When they go to donate this plasma, they actually test to see if they have antibodies in your blood and then they will keep it because they want those antibodies. So from somebody who’s recovered, they want those antibioties is to help somebody who’s fighting it right now to help their immune system help get rid of it.”

She says the patient experience for plasma donation is similar to giving blood, but it’s not something that can be done on the bloodmobile.

(as said:) “You have to travel unfortunately to Sioux City or Sioux Falls. You have to go to a plasma donation site. And what they will do is they will want to prove that you’ve had covid so they’ll want your positive test done and then they will draw blood and they will take some of your plasma and so they put an IV in each of your arms and take your blood out, take the plasma out, and then put the rest of the red blood cells back in. So you won’t really notice any difference but we’re just taking that part of the blood that has those antibodies in it so we can give it to other people. “

According to Dr. Badberg, giving plasma, and thereby your antibodies so that someone else can benefit does not diminish your own immunity.

(as said:) “So your body, once it starts to make antibodies is going to continue to make those antibodies. So by us taking them out with the plasma, you are not more likely to get sicker or more likely to get it sooner again. It’s just purely taking those out and giving them to somebody else that it would help.”

Community Blood Bank Executive Director Ken Ver Steeg says they offer plasma donation in Sioux Falls at their fixed site. He says the equipment is very sensitive and it takes your blood, separates the plasma from the red cells and platelets, then returns the red cells and platelets to you.

According to Ver Steeg, the donation takes about 40 minutes. Using this method of donation, the donor is able to give two to three units of convalescent plasma that will be directly transfused to two to three critically-ill COVID patients.

You can call the Community Blood Bank in Sioux Falls at (877)877-3070 or visit cbblifeblood.org for more information.

You can call Lifeserve Blood Center in Sioux City at (800) 287-4903 or visit lifeservebloodcenter.org for more information.

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