A new blood plasma donation center has opened in the Crossroads.
CSL Plasma opened in Victoria in late September, said center manager Annette Fossati. Plasma is 55% of human blood and is used to produce treatments for rare chronic conditions, according to the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association.
“Once plasma is collected, it’s then highly screened and separated out to make our different therapies,” said Dr. Jennifer Hanes, CSL Plasma national medical director.
Plasma therapies can be used to treat life-threatening conditions such as bleeding disorders, immune system conditions, trauma accidents and severe burns, Hanes said.
There is currently a shortage of plasma to develop therapies because donor turnout slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanes said.
“It’s more important than ever to donate because many of our patients have problems with their immune system, so they really rely on this medication now more than ever,” she said.
Plasma donations differ from blood donations in that donors must give plasma twice before it is viable to use for therapies, Hanes said. Both units of plasma donated must pass a screening to test the safety of the plasma before it may be used.
To encourage donors to return after their first visit, CSL Plasma is offering free vouchers for flu vaccines following the second donation, Hanes said.
Donors can give plasma no more than once in a two day period and no more than twice in a seven day period.
Donors must be in good health, be aged 18-74, weigh at least 110 pounds and must not have gotten a tattoo or piercing in the past four months, Fossati said. The donation process takes around 90 minutes, but donors must participate in an extensive screening process prior to their first donation.
There was hope that plasma therapies could be used to slow progression of the COVID-19 virus, but in August, the National Institute of Health concluded a study that showed that plasma therapies administered during the first week of COVID-19 symptoms did prevent disease progression for a group of high-risk outpatients.