One thing is for certain in 2020: this will forever be known as the year of COVID-19.
There's hardly an aspect of daily life that hasn't been affected by the virus.
From working remotely and keeping a two-metre distance to wearing face masks even on quick grocery runs, everyone has had to adapt.
It's not a stretch to say that everyone hopes for the global pandemic to finally end and for life to return to normal — albeit a "new normal," likely for a long while.
The individuals working tirelessly to make that happen are those in the medical and scientific communities.
While there has been some great news regarding vaccines, Canadian Blood Services, which has coordinated millions of life-saving blood, plasma and platelet donations, is busy working to help treat those currently infected by establishing a new convalescent plasma donation program.
The organization is contributing by supplying convalescent plasma to Canadian physicians caring for patients with the virus.
This is being done in the context of approved clinical trials to test the effectiveness of convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19 patients at more than 60 hospitals nationwide.
What exactly is convalescent plasma?
Plasma is a protein-rich liquid in our blood that supports the immune system and helps other blood components (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) travel through the body.
When a person is infected with a virus, their body starts making antibodies (lowkey the real MVP of our bodies) to fight the virus.
Convalescent plasma is collected from someone who has already recovered from a virus. Those specific antibodies could potentially be the key ingredient for a treatment to help others with the same virus.
In order to test the effectiveness of convalescent plasma to fight the coronavirus, Canadian Blood Services is currently seeking more convalescent plasma donors who have recently recovered from COVID-19.
Joining in this effort could possibly make you part of the solution to cure coronavirus.
To participate as a convalescent plasma donor in these clinical trials, you must be:
- Recently confirmed positive for COVID-19 by a laboratory test
- Younger than 67 years old
- Recently fully recovered and symptom-free from the virus for at least 28 days
You can sign up for the clinical trials without ever having donated blood or plasma before.
Canadian Blood Services also has the infrastructure and expertise to keep everyone safe during these trials.
They will only collect units from those who have fully recovered from the virus.
If you meet the above conditions, the first step in becoming a potential convalescent plasma donor in these clinical trials is to sign up through Canadian Blood Services’ online registry and wait to be contacted.
Canadian Blood Services especially needs convalescent plasma donors who have just recently recovered from the coronavirus to contribute to this cause.
The best time to donate convalescent plasma is between one and four months after recovery. This is when the immune system will typically have the highest level of antibodies to this coronavirus.
Individuals who never had the virus won't have the necessary antibodies either.
Unfortunately, as the number of COVID-19 cases rises in Canada, the need for convalescent plasma donors increases.
As 2020 wraps up, the medical and scientific communities are hard at work, trying to find a cure for COVID-19 and stop its spread.
If you decide to participate in Canada's clinical trials, then you might be part of that solution.