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Blood centers in desperate need of donations amid COVID-19 crisis

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BATON ROUGE - The LifeShare Blood Center in Baton Rouge is part of a nation-wide project to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

As people are ordered to stay at home and away from others to avoid the spread of COVID-19, blood donations have reached a dangerous low.

Blood centers, desperate for donations, are visited by few. The LifeShare Blood Center on Essen Dr. was visited Thursday afternoon by US Senator Bill Cassidy to promote their studies and experiments. 

"If you survived COVID-19, your plasma can save somebody's life," Sen. Cassidy, who is also medical doctor said.

While donating plasma, the senator also filmed a public service announcement, encouraging others to donate "Convalescent Plasma," which is taken from those who had and survived the coronavirus.

"Plasma is being used in particular for taking antibodies from those who have been exposed to COVID 19. Taking the antibodies out of that plasma and giving it to really sick patients," Sen. Cassidy said.

The plasma in the blood of a person who has recovered for COVID-19 contains antibodies that could fight off the disease.

Operators at the blood center want people to know that there is no blood test to tell if you have the virus and you can not transmit the coronavirus by giving or receiving blood.

"So if somebody were to come in and have the virus or something like that, we know that their blood supply is still safe because that is not going on to infect anybody else," LifeShare Assistant Director Benjamin Prijatel said.

If you would like to donate blood, LifeShare centers are open and ask those who feel sick to not come in. Staff will be taking temperatures upon arrival. 

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