Gov. Reynolds asks for convalescent plasma donations to fight COVID-19

A machine with bags of blood and plasma products attached to it.
A machine with bags of blood and plasma products attached to it.(KCRG File)
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 10:53 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Tuesday morning, Gov. Kim Reynolds recognized Iowans who had recovered from COVID-19 and donated blood and called for others to consider it.

That’s because this convalescent plasma contains antibodies of the virus. It helps current patients with recovery.

Gary Crow donated his plasma for the fourth time in four weeks after testing positive for the virus in early September.

“I just had a headache, a little fever, and fatigue,” Crow said.

Crow said the virus made him sick for about a week. While his body was able to beat it without complications, his wife wasn’t, and needed the help of plasma donations from someone who previously beat COVID-19, and the antibodies that come with it.

“I don’t know if she would’ve recovered as quickly as she did it without the convalescent plasma,” Crow said.

The plasma worked. In four days, Crow’s wife was out of the hospital. However, with the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations, those collecting the convalescent plasma, like Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, said they need more people to donate once they recover from the virus to meet the demand.

“The rate of the donation was keeping pace with the use of the product, and there was a bit of an increase and we were able to get some doses of COVID-19 convalescent plasma from other blood centers around the country,” Kirby Winn, a spokesperson for the center, said.

Winn said they saw almost four times as many doses used during this current spike. His concern wasn’t running out of convalescent plasma, but continuing to have people donate as the antibodies only last in a person’s body for so long.

“It’s not quite right to think of the supply as running out as long as people are coming in as long as we are adding new donors to our schedule,” Winn said.

That’s why Crow hoped to spread the word about donating convalescent plasma to others to help people like his wife beat the virus because soon he might not be able to help any longer.

“I want to make some other people aware that they could even give convalescent plasma if they don’t know it was a possibility,” Crow said.

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