GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Versiti Blood Centers of Michigan is urgently asking recovering COVID-19 patients to pay it forward by donating convalescent plasma.
The plea comes as supply is diminishing with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reaching record numbers in Michigan.
COVID-19 convalescent plasma is a therapy that uses antibodies to treat patients with severe cases.
Versiti says its been able to meet hospital demands so far with the help of other blood centers, but the need has doubled in the last four weeks with shipments going out three times faster than it’s coming in. Versiti anticipates demand for convalescent plasma will continue to increase with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
“We are facing a critical need,” said Dr. Dan Waxman with Versiti. “Without intervention from the community, we face the very real possibility that we won’t be able to fill orders for patients in hospitals we serve. This important therapy cannot be manufactured. It comes from generous volunteer donors in our communities who have recovered from COVID and now are able to help hospitalized patients in those very same communities.”
Michigan on Thursday reached a record 6,940 new cases alone. The state also recorded 45 more deaths linked to the virus. In all, the state has now had 236,225 confirmed cases of the virus since it was first detected in the state in March and seen 7,811 related deaths.
“Our inventory levels have dwindled from four weeks to four days,” said Dr. Waxman. “We’re pleading with the community – if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID and have been symptom free for 14 days, please consider giving an hour of your time to help others who are facing an uphill climb in battling the virus.”
COVID-19 SURVIVOR: SOME DON’T HAVE A CHANCE WITHOUT DONATIONS
A plasma transfusion recipient who says she survived her battle with COVID-19 because of someone’s donation is sharing her story in hopes of inspiring others to give their antibodies.
“There’s someone who’s hanging on by a thread and some of them don’t have a fighting chance unless you get up and donate,” Unique Edwards said.
Edwards, a 32-year-old mother of three boys, was hospitalized with COVID-19 in her hometown of Milwaukee in June.
Her symptoms continued to worsen, which is when they decided to try a plasma transfusion.
As a Versiti employee, Edwards was familiar with the treatment but never thought she’d be the one needing it.
“The doctor even told me at one point that they were afraid that I would be a worst-case scenario and that they’re glad I chose to receive plasma as a treatment option,” Edwards said.
Last month, Edwards got to meet her plasma donor.
“The experience was just surreal,” she said. “What do you say to somebody that saved your life?”
Anyone who’s previously donated is asked to call 877.BE.A.HERO to schedule another appointment. Generally, CCP donors are able to donate up to 12 times.
Those interested in donating for the first time can visit Versiti’s website.