The American Red Cross is asking people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma.

It's called convalescent plasma, and it's valuable because it contains COVID antibodies. For a seriously ill patient, those antibodies could help them to fight the virus. According to the American Red Cross website, it's an experimental treatment for COVID patients, to see if the antibodies will attack the virus.

Antibodies are blood proteins produced by a certain antigen, that the body uses to fight anything it perceives as foreign and unwanted, like viruses, infections, etc. Think of it as good proteins going to battle against the bad virus, riding in on their plasma stream to carry your body back to good health. For someone whose system has been broken down by the virus, these antibodies could be just what they need to strengthen their immune system and allow it to fight back.

Donating plasma is a lot like donating whole blood, except the blood drawn from your arm is fed into a centrifuge. The machine will separate the plasma from your blood and then return the uncollected parts of your blood back into your body. In all, it usually takes less than an hour to donate.

You have to be at least 17 years old and 110 pounds to donate, generally in good health, and symptom-free after a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Find more information about donation requirements on the American Red Cross website. Information is also available on that site about how and where you can donate plasma. You won your battle against COVID-19. This is a great way to help someone else have a fighting chance at winning theirs.

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