KC metro needs convalescent plasma donations to help COVID-19 patients, health experts say

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s become a useful tool for physicians working with severe coronavirus patients.

Convalescent plasma has shown positive results in helping patients who’ve entered intensive care units, but it’s becoming harder to find.

The American Red Cross is asking for donations from the public to help bolster the metro’s supply of blood and plasma, in which, COVID-resistant antibodies gathered from recovered COVID patients are proving to help seriously ill patients.

Angie Springs, a spokesperson with the Red Cross, said local supplies of blood products are running thin.

“People are looking for ways to give back, and giving blood is easy.” Springs said.

Springs said the American Red Cross is working in coordination with the Food and Drug Administrationl to collect more convalescent plasma. Springs said local supplies fluctuate every day, depending on needs and donations.

“As we see more cases spike in Missouri and Kansas, you can automatically think the need for that plasma will increase as well. It’s something that we could all give a little of our time to donate, and we can be on the front line of this fight,” Springs said.

Dr. Michael Moncure, a critical care specialist and surgeon with Truman Medical Center, said plasma was already in high demand since it’s shown to be useful in treating other conditions too.

Moncure said COVID-19 patients receiving convalescent plasma are usually in intensive care, and facing life-threatening circumstances. 

“In the face of COVID, there have been decreased donations. Therefore, you have the same need and fewer donations and this additional need of individuals who need convalescent plasma. You’re tapping a source that has not increased,” Moncure said.

“If we don’t give today, the blood won’t be there tomorrow.” Springs said.

The American Red Cross asks that all donors make an appointment to donate blood or plasma during the ongoing pandemic. The Red Cross’ Kansas City office can be reached at (816) 941-8400.

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