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We Are Blood sees increase in plasma donors to help COVID-19 patients

Since they launched the plasma program in April, they’ve had more than 95 donors who've been able to help more than 100 patients in the area.

AUSTIN, Texas — More and more people who’ve recovered from the coronavirus are donating their plasma to help others fight the infection.

We Are Blood has seen an increase in donors in the past few weeks. According to Nick Canedo with the blood bank, since they launched the plasma program in April, they’ve had more than 95 donors who've been able to help more than 100 patients in the area.

Canedo said when they started the program, they only saw about one person a week. Now they're seeing a handful of people come in daily. Donating plasma could help save someone else’s life.

RELATED: Local plasma donors helping hospitalized COVID-19 patients

“Without a vaccine, this is one of the best tools that physicians and hospitals have for treating current COVID-19 patients,” said Canedo. “While the results are anecdotal, we are seeing a positive response from patients.”

According to the FDA, which is looking at this as a possible treatment for COVID-19, “convalescent plasma” could help patients recover. That’s because if you’ve already had COVID-19, your plasma now contains antibodies that can fight the virus.

Brendan Steinhauser donated his plasma a couple of weeks ago.

“If I can help contribute to the work the health care professionals are doing at places like Seton, St. David’s and elsewhere, that makes me feel good so that this kind of awful situation that we face does have at least have some positive that can come out of it, which is people finding ways to help each other,” said Steinhauser.

RELATED: We Are Blood prepares to implement FDA change in blood donor eligibility

Steinhauser said it was an easy process too.

“There's really nothing to be concerned about or nervous about,” he said. “The process was not painful. It didn't take long. You can sit there and listen to your favorite podcast, music, or read a book and talk to people while you're there. It was actually a very pleasant experience.”

In order to donate, the donor needs to have had a positive lab test for COVID-19 or an FDA-approved antibody test, have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least 14 days, and qualify for a standard blood donation.

According to Travis County, more than 1,000 people have recovered from coronavirus in the area. We Are Blood is hoping to see more plasma donors so it can help more patients.

WATCH: Donated plasma helping save COVID-19 patients 


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