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In search of treatments, local blood bank calls for COVID-19 survivors

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People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered at least two weeks ago are being asked to help researchers find a treatment for the virus by donating plasma to the Blood Bank of Delmarva.

Tony Prado, spokesman for the blood bank located at 100 Hygeia Drive near Newark, said willing donors need to have a letter from their physician proving a positive diagnosis and must be symptom-free for 14 days in order to participate in the research.

“We need convalescent plasma,” Prado said Tuesday. “There’s something magical about the plasma of these people that holds the potential and might be a treatment.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the research March 24. ChristianaCare and Johns Hopkins hospital systems are working together to get the plasma and conduct the research. Prado said only a few local hospitals have been FDA approved.

For those who have never donated blood products before, the system of plasma donation is similar to a traditional blood donation, but it takes a little longer. Whole blood is withdrawn and run through a centrifuge, which separates the plasma and returns red blood cells to the donor. Instead of a single pint of blood, two to three pints of plasma is harvested.

Because of the sheltering orders and social distancing, the Blood Bank has to carefully schedule appointments. Walk-ins are not currently allowed.

If you are a COVID-19 survivor or you want to donate a much-needed pint of blood, call 1-888-825-6638 or go online to https://www.delmarvablood.org/give-blood/types-donations/plasma-donations-recovered-covid-19-patients/.

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