July 11, 2020 - 4:21 pm
A new plasma donation center opened in North Las Vegas on Saturday morning, as the need for plasma has spiked amid the coronavirus pandemic.
BioLife Plasma Services, part of the biopharmaceutical company Takenda Pharmaceutical Co., on Saturday opened its location at 1711 W. Craig Road, where healthy donors are paid to give plasma that can be used in therapeutic treatments. Donors can spend up to two hours in the center twice per week and are compensated for their time, according to the BioLife website. BioLife officials did not provide an exact amount of compensation.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 cannot donate at the center yet because it does not accept convalescent plasma, which contains antibodies from those who have fully recovered from the coronavirus, but center manager Caleb Astle said he hopes the site will be able to accept those donations soon. Residents can schedule an appointment to donate plasma on the BioLife website.
“The global demand for plasma-derived therapies has increased to a point that centers have had to increase the bandwidth and volume to meet that demand,” Astle said.
Plasma is collected using a machine that separates plasma from blood and returns the red blood cells to the donor, which allows donors to give plasma up to twice per week. Donated plasma is incorporated into a variety of therapies for people with immunodeficiency disorders, hemophilia and hereditary angioedema, among other life-threatening diseases, according to a BioLife statement.
Convalescent plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have been symptom-free for at least 14 days may be used to develop an “investigational medicine” for coronavirus patients, the statement reads. Residents can donate this plasma for compensation at BioLife’s Henderson location at 2255 N. Green Valley Parkway.
The North Las Vegas center has a capacity for about 30 donors at a time but can grow up to 60, Astle said. Masks are required inside the center, and markers are set up on the ground to keep donors socially distanced while waiting for their appointment.
The center’s opening created 40 jobs, Astle said.