Monday, July 9, 2018

Explaining plasma donation

In recent posts I've commented on the repugnance (in Canada and elsewhere) to paid plasma donation, which is legal in the U.S.. (The U.S. consequently supplies much of the world's plasma needs.)  One question facing the plasma industry is how to defend against compensated plasma donation being seen as a repugnant transaction.

I think they are already very well equipped to communicate the need for plasma proteins, which provide treatments for a host of diseases, and which are used around the world.  But to the extent that (paid or unpaid) donation needs to be defended and encouraged, I would expect to see more stories like this one, from Australia.

This man's blood has saved 2.4 million babies
'I'd keep going if they let me,' says 81-year-old with magical plasma.

"The man with the golden arm
"Harrison's blood is valuable because he naturally produces Rh-negative blood, which contains Rh-positive antibodies. His blood has been used to create anti-D in Australia since 1967.

"Every ampule of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it," Robyn Barlow, the Rh program coordinator who recruited Harrison, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Since the very first mother received her dose at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in 1967."
Harrison was the program's first donor.

"It's an enormous thing ... He has saved millions of babies. I cry just thinking about it."
Since then, Harrison has donated between 500 and 800 milliliters of blood almost every week. He's made 1,162 donations from his right arm and 10 from his left.

Harrison's retirement is a blow to the Rh treatment program in Australia. Only 160 donors support the program, and finding new donors has proven to be difficult. Additionally, attempts to create a synthetic version of anti-D have failed."

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