FDA Updates Blood Donor Eligibility Qualifications

With recent changes in eligibility rules, donating blood at Cascade Regional Blood Services (CRBS) is now easier than ever. When the need remains critically high, donors that have been deferred in the past may now be eligible to donate.

According to Cascade Regional Blood Services, someone needs blood every two seconds in the United States. Blood is used in several vital procedures, including surgeries, cancer treatments, and when caring for terminal illnesses and life-threatening injuries.

Fortunately, updated recommendations to donor qualifications were made by the FDA earlier this year to meet the growing demands for the contribution of blood and blood components as a direct result of COVID-19.

“The recent FDA guidance changes will make more donors eligible, which helps CRBS maintain an adequate blood supply for our community,” said Tara Crosby, Director of Quality Assurance at CRBS. “Maintaining an adequate blood supply is essential at any time but especially during a pandemic when we do not need another public health threat such as a blood supply shortage.”

The FDA changes took place immediately and will likely be permanent once the pandemic has concluded.


Let's Stick It To COVID

It is vital that all eligible individuals continue to answer the call and schedule an appointment to donate plasma. To date, independent community blood centers (non-American Red Cross) have distributed more than 100,000 units of convalescent plasma to patients in need.” America’s Blood Centers

If you had a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 and have since experienced a full recovery please sign up to be a COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Donor. If you have further questions, please contact the Supervisor of Clinical and Research Procedures at Cascade Regional Blood Services at 253-383-2553 | heathers@crbs.net. It is safe and an essential act to donate blood and convalescent plasma to ensure its availability for patients in need.

Surgeon General Dr. Adams

I’m Surgeon General Jerome Adams. If you have recovered from COVID-19, confirmed by a positive test, you’re in a special position to help us fight the virus. Your plasma has antibodies that may help others fight COVID. so please donate plasma now. You can literally help save lives.


Multicare Vitals: After recovering from COVID-19, MultiCare surgeon donates funds and his own plasma to help others

MultiCare Vitals shares the story of Dr. Prakash Gatta, MBBS, FACS, an esophageal surgeon who contracted COVID-19 in March.

“At its worst, it felt like a very unusual flu — one like I’d never had before. And even today, I’m still feeling weak and sleeping isn’t always easy. The effects are still lingering.”

Dr. Gatta recovered, and immediately signed up to donate his convalescent plasma in a clinical trial that Cascade Regional Blood Services is running in partnership with the Mayo Clinic. The trial will help future patients who are infected.

“Until a vaccine comes out, there is no drug for this, so studies like these become very important,” Gatta explains.

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The News Tribune: Convalescent plasma seen as 'glimmer of hope' for people suffering from COVID-19

The News Tribune reports that regional blood banks—including Cascade Regional Blood Services—are collecting plasma to send to hospitals, giving sick individuals the antibodies to fight COVID-19.

The plasma filled with these antibodies is transfused into sick people to give their immune system a fighting chance, said Tara Crosby, quality assurance director for Cascade Regional Blood Services.

[…] “We really do need as many people as possible to increase our donor base for convalescent plasma,” Crosby said. “If you’ve recovered and want to help, we’d love to hear from you.”

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Recovered COVID-19 patient Alissa Kelli Sarbiewski donates plasma at Cascade Regional Blood Services

South Sound Magazine: Recovered COVID Patients’ Plasma Donations Could Lead to Treatment

Recovered COVID-19 patient Alissa Kelli Sarbiewski donates plasma at Cascade Regional Blood Services

South Sound Magazine reports that Cascade Regional Blood Services is taking part in a national effort to search for new treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, largely by looking at blood plasma donations from people who have recovered from it.

Enumclaw resident Alissa Kelli Sarbiewski is one of many recovered COVID patients who has decided to donate her blood plasma to research.

“I donated plasma because I want to help others who are suffering with COVID-19,” Sarbiewski said. “If my antibodies are the way I can pay it forward, I’m eager to take part. The biggest lesson in all of this for me is that even the hardest trials can become positive and meaningful when seen through a lens of potentially helping someone else.”

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Kent Reporter: MultiCare Health System Announces New Treatment for COVID-19 Patients: Seeks Plasma Donations from People Recovered from Coronavirus

Tacoma-based MultiCare Health System, including hospitals in Auburn and Covington, has another treatment option for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

The Expanded Access Program for Convalescent Plasma, led by the Mayo Clinic, is for COVID-19 patients who have or are at risk of severe or life-threatening disease, according to a MultiCare news release on Monday. Patients who choose this treatment get a transfusion of plasma donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19, or “convalescents,” and have since tested negative. The donor plasma contains antibodies that can attack the virus, and early studies have shown that it may help patients recover faster.

The first three MultiCare patients to get donor plasma were treated April 18.

“We are treating those who are faring the worst first,” said Dr. Scott Meehan Jr., the program’s primary investigator for MultiCare’s Puget Sound region hospitals.

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Recovering local COVID-19 patients leading the charge in the race to develop new treatments

TACOMA, Wash.April 29, 2020 — Washington was the first epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., and Pierce County was among the earliest and hardest hit. Now it’s at the forefront of the race for new treatments and vaccines, thanks in part to the work of Cascade Regional Blood Services.

Treatments depend on research of blood plasma donations from people who’ve recovered from COVID-19. The FDA is coordinating a national effort along with America’s Blood Centers to develop these treatments.

Convalescent COVID-19 plasma is not only being studied for its antibodies—the plasma itself may be administered as an emergency treatment for patients critically ill with the disease. The topic of convalescent blood plasma is highly likely to trend in coming weeks and months. Because our region was the earliest and hardest hit, we have the greatest number of recovered patients who can and are contributing.

In Pierce and South King Counties, Cascade Regional Blood Services (CRBS) is coordinating the local effort to collect convalescent plasma, which is then distributed through MultiCare hospitals and a national network called BioLinked to provide blood products for treatments and research.

Recovered COVID patients such as Alissa from Enumclaw have marched right back in to a donation center. “I donated plasma because I want to help others who are suffering with COVID-19. If my antibodies are the way I can pay it forward, I’m eager to take part. The biggest lesson in all of this for me is that even the hardest trials can become positive and meaningful when seen through a lens of potentially helping someone else.”

Donating blood and plasma is absolutely safe. If you or someone you know has tested positive for COVID-19 and has recovered, visit crbs.net or contact 1-800-24-BLOOD for more information on how to donate.

About Cascade Regional Blood Services
Cascade Regional Blood Services is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 independent blood center serving community hospitals and clinics in Western Washington since 1946. CRBS provides blood products, therapeutic apheresis services, and support to pharmaceutical partners. With a dedicated volunteer donor base, CRBS conducts over 1,000 blood drives a year and has three donor center locations, including a laboratory in their Tacoma headquarters.  For more than 25 years, research companies have looked to CRBS to support their individual and IRB endeavors through recruitment and specialized collections.  For more information, visit https://www.crbs.net/.

Media Assets
Photo of donor, Alissa: https://www.crbs.net/crbs_ccp_alissa/
Cascade Regional Blood Services logo: https://www.crbs.net/crbs-logo/


KIRO-7 NEWS story about MultiCare seeking plasma donations from recovering COVID-19 patients

KIRO-7: MultiCare Health System seeks plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors

KIRO-7 NEWS ran a story about MultiCare encouraging eligible people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma at Cascade Regional Blood Services.

Donations to Cascade Regional Blood Services will be sent to MultiCare’s Puget Sound region hospitals, and may be used in urgently needed research as well.

Patients who choose this treatment get a transfusion of plasma donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19, or “convalescents,” and have since tested negative. The donor plasma contains antibodies that can attack the virus, and early studies have shown that it may help patients recover faster.

Watch the full story

TV Tacoma's CityLine speaks to Cascade Regional Blood Services: Why It's safe to give blood right now

Amanda Westbrook, from TV Tacoma’s CityLine speaks to Steve Freed, Laboratory Operations Manager for Cascade Regional Blood Services about why now is a safe and important time to give blood.

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The News Tribune: Here’s how you can help Pierce County Service providers respond to coronavirus

The News Tribune outlines current needs and ways you can help in this article and making an appointment to donate blood at Cascade Regional Blood Service is on their list.

As The News Tribune recently reported, blood donations locally and nationally have fallen amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of last week, Pierce County’s blood supply was down by more than 40 percent, according Candace Morrison, a spokesperson for Tacoma-based Cascade Regional Blood Services.

Read the full article