LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the state faces new cases and a record-high number of daily deaths, doctors are hoping those who recover from the virus step up to help those fighting it.
Convalescent plasma contains antibodies that can recognize and neutralize the virus, but with the lack of people donating, hospitals and doctors are concerned.
As the vaccine continues to roll out in Nevada, doctors are turning to the community for help in treating patients using convalescent plasma. It is taken from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and contains antibodies that can fight off the virus.
“Giving Plasma isn’t dangerous. It’s as safe as a blood donation,” said Dr. Marc Kahn — Dean of the UNLV School of Medicine. “This is a way you can really help patients and potentially even save someone’s life.”
Alan Diskin, the executive director of the Red Cross here in Las Vegas, endured his own personal struggle with COVID-19. He recalls hearing the news for the first time.
“I still get chills when I think about when they first told me that. I thought, how can I get sick? I was as safe as you can possibly be, but you never know when it will come,” Diskin said. “I remember the nurse coming in and she was holding a bag. It was a quarter of the way full. it was a translucent liquid and I immediately knew it was convalescent plasma.”
The blood transfusion worked for Diskin. He was sent home after 48 hours.
Now, he urges those that feel healthy after contracting the virus to donate.
“Call 1-800 red cross and book an appt to donate blood,” Diskin said. “If you have the antibodies for convalescent plasma, you are likely going to give somebody the opportunity to save their life.”
If you are a survivor of COVID-19 and want to donate, the red cross is not the only place you can go. There are several blood donation facilities across the valley.