NATIONAL (CBS Newspath) – As cases of COVID-19 surge, hospitals across the country are at a breaking point. Now the American Red Cross says one treatment that could help the sickest patients is in short supply: convalescent plasma.
The antibodies from the plasma donated from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 can help boost a patient’s immune system. “This is a disease that has, still, very few therapeutics. We’re seeing very new studies come out that suggest that the earlier you give it, the better it is,” says Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer at the American Red Cross.
Dr. Pampee Young says as cases surge nationwide, there’s now a dire shortage of convalescent plasma. “We just simply can’t keep up, so we need as many of our recovered COVID-19 patients as possible to roll up their sleeves and come in and donate,” she says.
Georgia urgent care nurse Amanda Solt has worked tirelessly through the pandemic. This past summer, the frontline hero became a patient, battling the coronavirus. “I’ve heard patients talk about it, but I never experienced it ‘til that moment. You have a very overwhelming sense of doom,” she says.
Struggling to breathe, Solt was hospitalized, and declining fast. She says she doesn’t remember much. But her nurse did take a snapshot when Solt received convalescent plasma from a person who recovered from COVID. “She says, ‘we’re gonna take a selfie because we’re gonna remember this moment because this moment is gonna save your life.’ And it did,” Solt says.
Now, Solt is back to work, and she recently donated plasma. She is telling her patients to do the same.
To her plasma donor, and her nurses, Solt says “How do you say thank you to that? I could never, ever tell them thank you enough for giving me a second chance on life.” The grandmother is grateful she’s alive and able to help someone else in need.
Some fully recovered COVID patients can give plasma every seven days as long as they still have antibodies If you don’t have COVID-19 antibodies, you can still help. The American Red Cross says the need for blood and platelet donations is constant, especially during this pandemic.