Plasma is the straw-colored liquid portion of blood that contains proteins that are essential for the human body, including antibodies and clotting factors. Antibodies (also known as immunoglobulins) play an important role in health and illness. Many patients living with CIDP, MMN or Variants regularly receive intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIG) to treat the condition, and many GBS patients likely received IVIG after diagnosis. Flooding a person’s system with antibodies from normal, healthy individuals can reverse problems caused by abnormally overactive immune systems.
Immunoglobulin – whether given as IVIG or SCIG – is created from source plasma that is donated from healthy people. There is no other way to create this treatment, so patients who use plasma products rely on people to donate plasma through a safe, relatively quick process for which their time may be reimbursed.
Currently, companies that manufacture the therapies needed by our patient community – and hundreds of thousands of people across the world – are reporting a sharp decrease in the number of people who are donating plasma. This shortage creates a direct threat to the health and wellness of our patient population, who are treated with immunoglobulin (Ig). Ig can only be created from human plasma donations, therefore, we are asking for plasma, please.
If you are a patient living with CIDP, MMN, or a variant or you once had GBS, we are asking that you share information about how to donate plasma with loved ones in your life to help inspire them. Plasma donors are everyday heroes that selflessly give plasma so that others can live.
On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of patients across the world who use plasma, thank you.
Advocate for Plasma Donation
Donating plasma is not the only way of helping patients who use plasma. You can become an advocate by creating awareness within your network about the need for plasma. A simple way to advocate is to encourage your friends and family to become plasma donors by sharing information and resources about plasma donation with them. An effective and easy way to do this is to use your social media platforms!
Ways to Advocate on Social Media
Share Your Story
A good place to start is to share your connection to plasma. Are you a patient with GBS, CIDP, or a variant, such as MMN? Have you received infusions of IVIG or frequently rely on plasma-based products to treat your condition? Are you a consistent plasma donor and know what the process is like? In 1-2 paragraphs, write a concise story highlighting how plasma has impacted your life. Compliment the post with images related to you or your experience.
Engage with the Foundation’s Plasma Content
The Foundation frequently posts content creating awareness about the need for plasma. Simply re-post or share our posts and tag us to bring awareness to your network about the Foundation and our dedication to getting more people to become plasma donors.
Share Graphics Related to Plasma
The Foundation has created several graphics related to plasma that you can post to your own social media accounts. Take a look at the graphics below and download any that you would like to use!
FAQs about Donating Plasma
Is it safe to donate plasma?
Yes! Each plasma donation center is operated by trained medical professionals who will make sure you are eligible to donate safely and will take care of you throughout the entire donation process.
Can IVIG be made from whole blood donation as well or just plasma?
Recovered plasma, obtained from a whole blood donation, is a suitable raw material for the manufacture of IVIGs. There just isn’t enough of it! The world cannot depend on recovered plasma to meet patients’ clinical needs.
Does donating plasma hurt?
Many donors compare the sensation to a bee sting.
Can I only donate plasma one time?
No, first-time donors must return for a second donation within 6 months of their first donation before either of your donations can be used.
Do I need to make an appointment to donate plasma?
Depending on the donation center near your place of residence, appointments may be required. Find the nearest donation center to you and visit their website or call to find out if you need to schedule an appointment. Many centers have a simple sign-up process online!
Can you donate plasma if you’ve had GBS, or other autoimmune conditions?
If a U.S. source plasma center is EU certified, the deferral would be automatic. EU requires deferral of donors who have neurological conditions or a recurring or relapsing disease or condition. In the U.S., however, the regulations/guidance are not so black and white. However, many would be deferred either because of the condition itself or medications being taken for the condition or general physical condition at the time of the interview or physical examination. For the most part, individual company policies dictate.
Can I donate plasma or blood for Covid-19 research if I am using SCig?
People receiving antibody therapies should not donate. There is not a concern for product safety, but rather for the health and well-being of the person wanting to donate. It would be impossible to monitor the effectiveness of a person’s antibody treatments if they were also donating antibodies.
What type of safety measures are donation centers taking during Covid-19?
Donation centers have implemented safety protocols that include sanitation of facilities and equipment, mask wearing and other PPE measures, and social distancing.
The GBS|CIDP Foundation is committed to sharing the most accurate information from the world’s leading experts, many from our Global Medical Advisory Board. The COVID-19 situation changes daily and we will continue to share updates that are vetted by the experts in GBS. In addition, we are in regular contact with the FDA representing the patient voice in the top-level decision-making. We understand that there are many opinions creating confusion so please consider the source of your information before drawing conclusions. As always, all decisions should be made with your personal physician based on your own health. Please continue to check our website for updated information.
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