Drop by drop, WSU Pullman students who have beaten back COVID-19 are donating their plasma to help those who are suffering from severe cases of the highly contagious disease.

Organized by members of the Greek community, the plasma drives are happening at WSU’s Chinook Student Center in coordination with Vitalant, a non-profit blood donation organization.

“You can’t un-contract COVID-19,” said David Jaquish, who serves as director of service for WSU’s Interfraternity Council. “The only thing you can do is try to make things better for others suffering from the disease.

David Jaquish at blood drive
David Jaquish, who serves as director of service for WSU’s Interfraternity Council, awaits a plasma drive on the campus of Washington State University, Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

Back in September, Jaquish was working with Vitalant to bring a regular blood drive to the Pullman campus. Unfortunately, several students who planned to donate couldn’t do so because they’d contracted COVID-19.

In response, Jaquish and the company planned several plasma drives instead for the following months. The first one happened Oct. 19.

What’s being collected from student donors is convalescent plasma. The FDA is asking blood centers across the country to collect and distribute the plasma of donors who’ve previously had the disease. This plasma contains antibodies that can be transfused to patients suffering from severe active cases of COVID-19 to help them combat the disease.

Students who’ve previously contracted COVID-19 must wait at least 28 days from the disappearance of symptoms prior to donating.

Even if students weren’t diagnosed with COVID-19 but believed they may have had it, they can donate blood, which Vitalant tests for COVID-19 antibodies.

Jaquish expects more and more students to come out and donate as more time passes between initial outbreaks of COVID-19 in Pullman. He’s working with the IFC, the Panhellenic and Multicultural Greek councils to get the word out to as many members of the community as possible.

“Issues the WSU community are dealing with are part of national trend,” the fifth-year mechanical engineering student said. “It’s hard to see people not making the best choices, but the hope is that we can get students to help address future spikes that may occur around the time they come back to school in the spring.”

The overall goal is to collect between 70-80 samples before the end of November. Collections will be taking place at Chinook on Nov. 16 and 17 from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in Room 150.