Empty beds that are used to donate plasma

Stations at BPL Plasma are used for those who want to donate plasma.

CASA GRANDE — BPL Plasma is asking area residents to consider donating plasma in the midst of a shortage during a pandemic.

The center is currently collecting convalescent plasma to assist in the potential treatment for COVID-19. BPL Plasma is encouraging those who have recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating.

In order to donate plasma, one must be at least 18 and at least 110 pounds in addition to being medically screened and testing negative for specific viruses.

According to the center, it can take more than 130 plasma donations to treat one patient with a primary immune deficiency.

Upon entering the center, there is a temperature check and then a list of questions to answer to ensure the safety of everyone in the facility.

“The FDA has also launched a coronavirus treatment acceleration program, so they’re all in for finding that cure. They have actually done testing on convalescent plasma therapies already and it has actually changed the mortality rate of people fighting COVID-19,” said center Quality Manager Christina Voakes.

According to the FDA’s website there are several types of COVID-19 treatments being studied. These include:

  • Antivirals
  • Cell and gene therapies
  • Immunomodulators
  • Neutralizing antibodies
  • Other

“One of the benefits is knowing that they are helping someone out,” said center Manager Manny Garcia. “You can help save a life and in the process be compensated for your time.”

“I think everyone is ready to get back to normal. We are tired of the masks, we want to be able to hug our families and be with our friends. The more that people donate, the faster we can get to that point again and get vaccines out there and start eliminating this so we can be back together the way we should be,” Voakes said.

According to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration statement, the use of convalescent plasma has been studied in outbreaks of other respiratory infections.

On Sunday the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA, for convalescent plasma for the treatment of hospitalized patients fighting COVID-19.

“It is reasonable to believe that the known and potential benefits of COVID-19 convalescent plasma outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug for the treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID 19,” the FDA said in a statement.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize the impact,” Voakes said. “You have people who aren’t afraid to bump their knee because they have these injections and don’t need to worry about bleeding. It’s just amazing to know the impact.”

BPL Plasma is located at 1355 E. Florence Blvd. and is open seven days a week. Those who donate will be financially compensated.

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Gabrielle Olivera is the Casa Grande reporter at PinalCentral, covering government, schools, business and more.

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