The American Red Cross is grateful to the tens-of-thousands of individuals who have signed up to give convalescent plasma to help those seriously ill with COVID-19. Their willingness to give their antibody rich plasma to patients represents one of the many ways the nation has come together to support one another during this uncertain time.
To date, the Red Cross has collected thousands of donations to help meet urgent patient needs and build a readily available supply of convalescent plasma. As a result, the Red Cross is able to provide most hospitals the products they need within 36 hours, depending on the blood type. We recognize this is a difficult time for many, particularly for those who have an ailing loved one and for which time is of the essence. It is these patients and families that motivate our organization to continue to work aggressively to be able to fulfill orders even faster.
To help simplify the eligibility process and qualify more potential donors, the Red Cross began testing for COVID-19 antibodies from individuals eligible to donate convalescent plasma in late April. However, at this time the Red Cross is not providing COVID-19 antibody testing for members of the public or routine blood, platelet or plasma donors.
As the largest blood collector in the U.S.—collecting more than 4.6 million blood donations and nearly 1 million platelet donations from more than 2.6 million volunteer donors every year - there are many factors that the Red Cross is assessing to ensure we are able to appropriately balance the continued delivery of lifesaving products for patients in need with the emerging public health desire to have access to broader testing during this pandemic. The Red Cross is currently evaluating our capacity to expand COVID-19 antibody testing to our blood, platelet and plasma donors, and hope to have more information on this in the coming weeks.
Now is the time to take care of one another and with no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, the Red Cross will continue to need convalescent plasma donors in the weeks to come to help patients in the weeks and months ahead. We encourage individuals who have fully recovered to complete our Donor Information Form on RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.