The coronavirus pandemic is discouraging the public from blood and plasma donations, and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), which oversees Turkey's blood drives, is concerned about decreasing stocks.
“If the donations do not increase, we will face difficulties,” the charity’s president, Dr. Kerem Kınık, told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Friday. Kınık pointed to a “difficult three months ahead,” referring to winter when the outbreak is expected to worsen.
“Stocks are not at a very low level, but people should donate more. They should especially donate more immune plasma. We see daily plasma demand rising to more than 1,000 units from an average of 400 to 500 daily because of the peaking number of patients in the last couple of weeks. We expect recovered patients to be extra sensitive in terms of donation in this period,” Kınık appealed to the public.
Plasma is used in complementary plasma therapy for coronavirus patients. Recovered patients can donate for the treatment of others, though the process only offers temporary protection and passive immunization. The plasma infusion gives patients a temporary dose of someone else’s antibodies that is short-lived and requires repeated doses.
Kınık said some 70,000 units of plasma have been delivered to hospitals so far, and they contacted about 250,000 people for donations. “We have a total of about 750,000 people in our donation database and up to 300,000 among them appear to be suitable donors,” he said.
“The outbreak, which required curfews and other restrictions, led to a decline in mobility. But donors should know that restrictions do not apply to them. They can have an online appointment for donations and visit our centers without any restriction,” Kınık said.
He underlined that donation centers are safe against the coronavirus. “We minimized any risk with regular disinfection and monitoring. Donating blood or plasma will also not affect your health,” he said.
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