It’s the giving season and, this year, some residents should consider giving of themselves – literally.

The Red Cross needs convalescent plasma, which can be used to treat patients battling the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 that contains antibodies that might help patients actively fighting the virus,” according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Red Cross. “The current increase in hospitalizations has led the Red Cross to distribute a record number of convalescence plasma products in the past month – a 250% increase in November compared to September.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August issued an emergency use authorization allowing doctors to use convalescent plasma therapy to lessen the severity or shorten the length of coronavirus illness in hospitalized patients. Studies have shown the therapy can be effective, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn said at the time.

It’s being used in Fort Wayne hospitals, and experts have said the results are promising. Research trials on the treatment also are underway.

David Sullivan, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote in a Forbes column published last week that the therapy is a gateway to living with COVID-19 “instead of shutting down for two weeks every time infection rates rise too high.”

“The distribution of these convalescent plasmas has increased at least twofold (recently),” Bernath said. “If you are recovered ... we encourage you to reach out to the Red Cross.”

The organization is collecting plasma at more than 170 locations around the country, including Fort Wayne, and its appeal comes amid more bad news about the ongoing pandemic.

COVID-19 has killed more than 272,000 people – about the population of Fort Wayne – as of Wednesday afternoon, data from Johns Hopkins shows.

“COVID-19 continues to have a firm grip on our state,” Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said during a news conference.

It does, but there are ways – such as donating plasma – to help. Let’s help.

The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne

- The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne

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