TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The American Red Cross started testing plasma for COVID-19 antibodies this week.
"The antibodies in the plasma would likely attack the virus in the current patient and help clear it faster, reduce the symptoms and hopefully help avoid the ventilator or get them off the ventilator quicker and help save lives," said Dr. Hank, Hanna, the Red Cross Regional Medical Director.
Antibodies from COVID-19 survivors can help people currently fighting the virus. Hanna said plasma was used in a similar way to help treat Ebola. Although there is no effective treatment for COVID-19, plasma a is showing some signs of hope to people who are infected.
"We don't have the data to know that this actually works but we've heard good anecdotal evidence so far," Hanna said. "A lot of patients have gotten better but it's not the end of the road for that."
The Food and Drug Administration is investigating plasma as a possible treatment against COVID-19 and the Red Cross is assisting by collecting and testing plasma from people who qualify.
Eligible donors must have tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered.
"Symptom free for 28 days, at that point we would test them and see if they have the antibodies," he said.
The Red Cross Broadway Blood Donation Center and Foothills Mall Blood Donation Center are both accepting plasma from COVID-19 survivors. Find more information and the qualification form from the Red Cross, here.