LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) – Over 12,000 people in our area have recovered from COVID-19, meaning thousands could possibly be eligible to donate convalescent plasma.
Last week we showed you how a recovered patient who wants to donate to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center would need to travel to San Antonio or wait for a donation drive to be hosted.
However, commercial plasma centers are also an option and KGNS shares what these facilities are doing with their convalescent plasma donations.
For several decades Grifols, a global healthcare company, has been producing medicine that comes from plasma for the medical industry.
It’s current goal is to develop medication that could possibly treat COVID-19.
“Based on some of our knowledge on plasma medicine, we are looking to produce a medicine that can potentially treat COVID-19,” said Vlasta Hakes of Grifols.
With over 250 plasma centers across the country, it has been in search of COVID-19 survivors.
“We’ve been collecting and other centers across the United States including our centers and Laredo, and once this plasma is collected it actually goes to our manufacturing facility in North Carolina. In North Carolina it is where we start producing the medicine.”
Basically when you donate at plasma centers like Grifols, your convalescent plasma is contributing to medical research and the development of medication, unlike when you donate to non-profit centers, who supply hospitals with convalescent plasma for immediate patient treatment.
After recovering from COVID-19, Kristian Rossell says she always knew she was going to donate her plasma.
“As soon as I got better and as soon as I did some research as to where they were doing it in Laredo, I signed up and came to donate.”
She describes the process as easy and says it’s the least she can do after being one of the lucky ones.
Grifols requires donors to have recovered from COVID-19, proof of a positive lab test, be 28 days or more symptom-free, and commit to a minimum of 2 donations.
“It takes multiple donations to make enough of this medicine. Unlike blood that it’s only one donation that can help many. We need many donations because it takes a lot of donations to make this medicine.”
The company does financially compensate those who donate at its centers.
Grifols says it will now move toward starting clinical trials.
“We are working with the National Institute of Health, and other federal agencies on this trial. So we are waiting, any day it should start.”
Grifols has two location in Laredo under the name Biomat.
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