"Is donating plasma safe today?"
Discouraged by social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and a general fear of contracting the deadly virus, that is the question on every plasma donor's mind through the past ten months.
COVID-19 has had an impact on everything from the food and aviation industry to medicines, including, of course, life-saving plasma therapies.
CSL Behring, for instance, reported a decrease in supply this June, compared to last year.
The numbers might not be worryingly low, but what worries the industry is the impact this shortage might have in the near future. It takes 7-8 months to manufacture plasma therapies from the instance source plasma is collected. The real impact, then, will occur perhaps a year from now.
But it does not have to.
"Without the life-saving plasma from dedicated donors, I'd live with severe and persistent infections," said Megan Ryan on the Dear Warriors podcast, an educational podcast that features patients of rare diseases who rely on plasma therapies, some even every single day. This shortage can be devastating for people like Megan across the country.
The answer to the opening question is a resounding yes: to ensure the safety of both donors and their employees, authorized plasma facilities are rigorously following COVID-19 guidelines laid down by the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
Additionally, many centers are taking voluntary measures like ensuring socially distanced queues and socially distanced beds; the use of sanitizers; temperature checks prior to entering the facility; and taking steps to ensure all rooms, labs, and equipment are uncontaminated at all times.
In other words, facilities are doing everything they can to protect you.
So, you can do your part.
If you are eligible, head down to your nearest plasma center and donate plasma.
Then do it again, and again.
Learn more about plasma at www.iplasma.life