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Grifols, a global health care company, operates a network of plasma donation centers that provide plasma as the starting material for medicines that Grifols produces. Even with Grifols’ experience in the plasma industry, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, it was unchartered territory. “We quickly realized that Grifols could really make a difference here. We had the expertise and this vast network of centers that we needed to mobilize quickly to figure out how we could best fight this pandemic,” said Vlasta Hakes, Director of Corporate Affairs for Grifols.
Early research showed that people who recover from COVID-19 have antibodies that their body develops in their plasma that could be used to help future cases of COVID-19. Grifols acted quickly and began collecting plasma from those people who have recovered from COVID-19 (Convalescent Covid Plasma, or CCP,) in early as April to jumpstart finding a potential treatment for the disease. Hakes explained, “Once word started to spread that donating CCP could be the answer, a handful of donations per week turned into thousands within a couple of months. It was amazing to see so many people who had recovered turn around and want to help others fight.”
In March 2020, while the world was rapidly changing, Grifols’ network of over 250 plasma donor centers donated an astonishing 500,000 pounds worth of food to local food providers and Feeding America.
"We recognized that the need for food donations didn’t go away after the holiday season and with the economic uncertainty surrounding the start of the pandemic, our teams wanted to support our local food networks as much as we could,” said Soriah Conner, Center Manager of Talecris Plasma Resources in Eugene, Oregon (a Grifols plasma center). Plasma centers collected cash donations and even had their plasma donors voluntarily give back a portion of their donor fees—a small “thank-you” plasma donors get for their time and commitment to donating plasma regularly—to Feeding America.
Now, almost one year after the start of the pandemic, Grifols is holding their third-annual Box Out Hunger campaign. This month-long campaign combines food donations with monetary donations to help food banks and pantries across the country. Whether donating plasma to treat rare diseases and other conditions, or simply by donating food, Grifols plasma centers hope to make their communities a better place. To donate food or learn more about plasma donations, please visit GrifolsPlasma.com to find your nearest location.