Earlier this month, reports began to circulate on the mounting crisis of immunoglobulin shortages. We’ve heard from some of our PI users that IG supplies have been rationed. The Immune Deficiency Foundation released this plea to hospital-based providers and prescribers.
For those less familiar, immunoglobulin is the portion of plasma that contains antibodies. For people with primary immunodeficiencies or immune disorders who are unable to product adequate levels of antibodies, Ig replacement therapy is a critical component of their treatment plans.
The Folia team looked into ways to help. However despite the academic medical centers and prominent blood donation facilities in our city, there are very few ways to donate plasma in the state of Massachusetts (thanks to outdated regulation). The one center in the Boston metro area that accepts plasma donations only accepts AB blood, which is the universal donor type (if you are in Boston and have AB blood, please sign up to donate in Back Bay here!) A few facilities exist in Providence, RI, however they are restricted to residents within a 30 or 50 mile radius (RI residents can sign up here!) .
We know Folia members are motivated to harness the power of their observations for their own care - and to be part of a greater movement to improve care at the population level. So we wanted to share some tips we learned for how you can help.
1. Plasma donation only takes a few minutes longer than whole blood donation
During plasma donation, blood is drawn from one arm and sent through a machine that collects your plasma and then safely returns your red cells and platelets back to you, along with some saline. It typically takes an hour and fifteen minutes.
2. If you have AB blood type, you’re in luck!
AB blood is the universal donor type for plasma. If you have AB blood, there may be a Red Cross affiliated facility who can accept your plasma.
3. You can donate 13 times a year
FDA regulations allow you to donate as frequently as every 28 days.
4. You can earn money for donating plasma
Some facilities can compensate you for your plasma donations. At CSL Plasma, new plasma donors can earn up to $400 each month. Amazon is also awarding a $5 gift card for any blood donation type through the Red Cross, from today through August 29.
What other tips do you have for helping to address this shortage and provide life-saving therapy for people living with PI? Share in the comments!