116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center announced plans to phase out its convalescent plasma donation program later this month.
As COVID-19-related hospitalizations continue to decline, so has the demand for convalescent plasma, the experimental treatment option for patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
Officials announced this week it no longer will be seeking donations effective March 26.
Individuals who have appointments to donate convalescent plasma on or before March 26 are encouraged to keep their appointment. However, this new policy means the blood center no longer will accept new referrals for these donations.
Blood center officials stated their current inventories can meet the current projected patient need across its four-state region. Convalescent plasma can be stored frozen for up to a year after donation.
'If we should see an increase in demand for (COVID-19 convalescent plasma) due to rising infection and hospitalization rates, we are prepared to resume full-scale recruitment and collection of convalescent plasma donations,” Jeannine McCullough, vice president of blood services, said in a statement.
The blood center has been accepting plasma from individuals who recently have recovered from a COVID-19 infection since April. During that time, the center has collected more than 6,600 units of convalescent plasma from more than 2,500 donors, officials said in a news release.
Donations to the center are sent to area hospitals to use for COVID-19 patient treatment in the hopes the antibodies in the plasma will help current patients recover faster.
More than half a million Americans received convalescent plasma to treat their COVID-19 infection, national reports indicate.
However, studies are beginning to show that this treatment has little to no effects on patients. One trial conducted in the United Kingdom with more than 10,000 participants found no benefit in patients, the report stated.
The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center said it still is recovering from blood-drive cancellations and missed appointments throughout the pandemic and has a 'critical, ongoing need for red blood cell, platelet and plasma donations of all blood types,” officials said.
'Blood products are used with patients in treatment for cancer, to respond to trauma and for lifesaving surgical procedures,” said Amanda Hess, director of donor and public relations.
'All of these reasons, and more, still occur during the pandemic.”
Individuals can schedule an appointment to donate at www.bloodcenter.org.
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