As cases of COVID-19 surge, convalescent plasma can provide a vital lifeline to help critically ill patients fight off the virus. That’s why Franciscan Health is joining with Versiti Blood Centers in seeking donations of blood plasma from people who have already recovered from the virus.

“Convalescent plasma has been used since the 1800s to help people infected with different viruses and bacteria. The idea behind convalescent plasma is that if we take the antibodies from a patient who has recovered from an infection, and give them to a patient who is sick from that same infection, those antibodies may help that sick patient fight off the disease faster,” said Dr. Erica Kaufman West, infectious disease specialist for Franciscan Health.

Franciscan Health is asking anyone who has had COVID-19 to visit to learn more about the donation process and the convalescent plasma infusion program. A single donation can save up to three lives.

“Donating plasma is donating blood, except that you’ll get your platelets and red blood cells back. Just the plasma will be taken. The same requirements for blood donation apply and you must be free of COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days to be eligible,” Dr. Kaufman West said.

For those who have not been infected by COVID-19, your blood is also urgently needed. You can make an appointment at Versiti (Franciscan Health’s blood supplier) by calling 800-632-4722 or emailing Individuals can make a whole blood donation every 56 days and a plasma donation every 28 days.