Red Cross needs ‘COVID-19 survivor’ blood donations

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — The Red Cross is in need of more than just blood donations right now. The organization is seeing a significant decrease in the number of donors they need for COVID-19 research.

The non-profit is asking people to donate convalescent plasma. This type of plasma is used to treat patients battling COVID-19.

Red Cross has assisted medical facilities and scientists nationwide to find antibodies for the COVID-19 virus.

Jenny Pieterick, the technical leader for the Blood Bank at Medical Center Navicent Health, calls convalescent plasma a “useful tool” in the fight against COVID-19.

“If you have recovered from COVID-19, you most likely have antibodies to COVID in your plasma,” said Pieterick. “It can help someone via transfusion to overcome the effects of the virus.”

Ronnika McFall, a representative from the Red Cross, described the criteria for donating.

“With the plasma for COVID, we would need you to go to the website redcross.org/plasma4covid to fill out a donor information form. To be eligible to give, you must be at least 17 years old, weighing at least 110 pounds, in good health, and generally feeling well,” McFall said.

To donate, you need to show the Red Cross donation center that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and have successfully recovered without symptoms before donating.

Pieterick says that she and other medical professionals encourage people to do what they can to help.

“I would definitely wear a mask and practice social distancing,” Pieterick stated. “If you’re eligible I would try to donate to see if you do have antibodies that would help those who really need those plasma antibodies.”

The Red Cross is testing for antibodies in every blood donation they receive. Those who give blood can receive their antibodies test results within seven days of donating.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.