Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Miami hosts first Ohio college COVID-19 blood plasma drive


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Miami University has teamed up with Hoxworth Blood Center to host the first-ever blood plasma drive at an Ohio university, according to Alecia Lipton, Hoxworth’s director of public relations.

“This is the first convalescent plasma drive at a university, so we are thrilled to do that at Miami,” Lipton said. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, Miami students who have recovered from COVID-19 have an opportunity to help save the lives of those in their community more severely affected by the virus.

Kimberly Vance, director of student activities and the Cliff Alexander office of fraternity and sorority life, said the idea for the Hoxworth convalescent plasma drive was brought to Miami’s attention by a student from the business community.

“We had a meeting with student leaders and asked if this was something people would be interested in, and they said yes,” Vance said.

Blood plasma from those who have already recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies that protect against the disease. Once donated, the antibodies within the plasma will fight and slow the spread of COVID-19 in patients experiencing more detrimental effects.

Lipton encourages people who are able to donate to do so because it is a positive way to give back to your community. All of the plasma donated will save lives within the tri-state area.

Lipton said Hoxworth is grateful for the 62 Miami students and staff members that have already signed up and hopes that more plan to donate. The need for the plasma has greatly increased, she said, so donating plasma now is more important than ever.

“We have seen [our demand of] seven units a day jump to 30 a day,” Lipton said.

Many may worry how safe donating plasma during COVID-19 will be, but Hoxworth and Miami have worked to plan a drive with safety precautions in mind. Hoxworth employees will be armed with masks, gloves and wipes, and will require social distancing. 

“Hoxworth did a really good job giving us frequently answered questions,” Vance said.

Beforehand, potential donors are vetted by a medical team to ensure they are eligible. Then, plasma donors can donate multiple times per month depending on the amount of antibodies their plasma contains. Donors are encouraged to donate as much as possible in order to save as many lives as possible. 

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Vance attributes the plasma drive’s popularity to people wanting to help, especially in their own communities.

“[During COVID-19], it’s hard to know what to do; the only thing we know is to social distance and wear masks,” Vance said.

“Someone could donate every week for four weeks if they have enough antibodies, then we give you a 28-day break and try again,” Lipton said.

The Armstrong Student Center provides a large space to hold the drive, and Lipton appreciates that it is more convenient for Miami students and faculty to donate right on campus. The alternative would be a 40-minute drive, an issue for students without transportation. 

Hoxworth plans to continue its teamwork with Miami. Vance said they have already scheduled a second opportunity to donate blood plasma on Nov. 9 for those who can’t attend this Wednesday.

Students can sign up to donate blood plasma online, or call 514-451-0910.