Campus News

Convalescent plasma donors needed as COVID-19 cases increase in Wisconsin

Image By: Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison

Wisconsin hospitals are in need of convalescent plasma from those who have previously had COVID-19 for use in a COVID recovery treatment. 

As COVID case numbers continue to rise throughout the state of Wisconsin, health officials are worried that the plasma demand will heavily outweigh the supply. Convalescent plasma is a covid recovery treatment that is running out amid the pandemic. 

“Patients, as a consequence of this shortage, won’t be able to receive that as a part of their therapy,” Amy Franta, SSM Health regional chief officer told NBC15

The plasma donations from recovered covid patients have antibodies, which can help a sick patient battle the virus. Convalescent plasma donations can only be donated by those who have previously had COVID. 

Mary Wooding, a sophomore at UW-Madison, regularly donates plasma, as she has previously had COVID-19 and recovered. 

Wooding indicated that she originally started donating plasma because she had friends that had done it. Not only would it be a way to earn some extra cash, but she knew it would also be a way for her to give back to her community. 

“I would recommend it because it's not only an easy way to make money, but it’s a way to give back and know that you’re making a difference by donating your plasma,” said Wooding. 

Wooding said that the process was relatively simple and painless.

“It feels good knowing I am hopefully making a difference to help COVID patients. It’s a simple way to contribute, and especially during a pandemic it’s important to do anything I can,” explained Wooding. “I think the medical field can use all the help they can get and this is just one way I can contribute.”

SSM Health is seeing a shortage from their blood vendor and, as covid cases increase in Wisconsin, so does the demand for the treatment. 

“I think all of our health systems are worried in terms of the covid volumes and the effect it will have on our patients, staff and providers,” Franta said. 

UW-Health said that they have enough convalescent plasma to cover their current needs. 

At the end of October, UW-Madison students held a blood drive to benefit patients in need of convalescent plasma. William Hartman, UW-Health principal investigator of COVID-19 clinical trials, said that this helped increase their supply. 

Based on the total positive cases in Wisconsin, the state has a potential donor pool of over 300,000 people that they are trying to tap into. 

UW Health suggests that individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 and are interested in donating plasma can contact the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767, or email uwcovid19project@hslc.wisc.edu. In Madison, Wooding donates plasma at Interstate Blood & Plasma at 317 N. Henry St.

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