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Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients in short supply

November 16, 2020 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — There is a critical need for blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients in Wisconsin, according to officials.

Convalescent plasma has been shown to be effective in treating the most seriously ill coronavirus patients, but the demand is far greater than the supply.

Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin’s chief medical officer, Dr. Thomas Abshire, said the need for convalescent plasma in Wisconsin is about double the number of donors giving plasma.

Advocate Health Care transplant director Dr. Ajay Sahajpal says Wisconsin has already needed to import plasma from other states, but that might not continue as the shortage of donors continues elsewhere.

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“For convalescent plasma, specifically, it’s a critical shortage,” he said.

Sahajpal is worried that as the holidays approach, fewer people will donate blood and that it could lead to a crisis across several medical fronts, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Saphajpal said plasma and coagulation products, which cause the blood to clot, are being rationed, even for patients in intensive-care units, some with liver failure and those awaiting transplants.

Blood centers and hospitals have been taking precautions to make sure donors are safe from COVID-19. Temperatures are taken and donors are asked to respond to questions drafted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if they have been ill or have been exposed to the virus.