06Jun

This is National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, a time to mark the vital contribution of those who work behind the scenes.

This is National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, a time to mark the vital contribution of those who work behind the scenes.

We at Green Key Resources say THANK YOU to all the technicians, scientists and pathologists who fill such an important role in the current coronavirus crisis. You are the professionals analyzing patient samples to provide the critical clues for diagnosing and treating the COVID-19 disease.

Medical Laboratory Professional Week takes on a special significance this year, because of the critical work these healthcare workers are doing to fight the pandemic. While the rest of us maintain social distance, laboratory professionals handle the specimens from the sick and those who may be. They are the ones who analyze the test swabs and the blood samples.

They may not ever meet a patient, but they are as much a part of the frontline as the nurses and doctors and others who do.

Year round, their work informs doctors, nurses and researchers about the illness of their patients, confirming initial diagnoses or prompting the treatment team to reassess when the results differ.

All of these professionals have specialized training. Pathologists are physicians, sometimes called a “doctor’s doctor,” who analyze biopsies and the more complex analytical tests, particularly in difficult situations. Medical laboratory scientists, technologists and clinical laboratory scientists may perform many of the routine tests in a lab, but are most often involved in specialized testing and quality control. Many are specialists in a specific area such as hematology, cytogenetics, microbiology and immunology.

In most labs, it is the technicians who conduct the routine tests. They do most of the detective work, consulting with pathologists and laboratory scientists in unusual cases or complicated testing.

So think of these laboratory professionals this week and tweet your thanks with the #LabWeek tag.

Green Key Resources is grateful to all of the people working hard to fight this pandemic.

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Jun 6, 2023

Blood Banks Seeking Healthy and Recovered Volunteers

A Red Cross plea last month for blood donors averted what the agency described as a shortage so severe some hospitals were only days from running out of blood.

So many volunteers stepped forward that the Red Cross now deems the supply “adequate.” “We say that cautiously, because we don’t know what will come,” Paul Sullivan, senior vice president of the American Red Cross told the Washington Post.

Now, besides continuing to urge healthy people to give blood, hospitals and blood banks are asking those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma.

In the tri-state area, the New York Blood Center and Mount Sinai Hospital have issued calls for recovered COVID-19 persons to donate.

“If you had #COVID19 and have recovered you can help save a life. Your blood may contain antibodies that fight the virus and can help critically ill people. Please fill out this form to see if you are eligible to be a volunteer: https://bit.ly/2vTHALk,” the hospital Tweeted.

Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved plans to test two potential therapies derived from human blood. “These are called convalescent plasma and hyperimmune globulin and are antibody-rich blood products made from blood donated by people who have recovered from the virus,” the FDA said.

The FDA program supplements the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, an ad hoc effort organized by physicians and scientists across the country to investigate using convalescent plasma against the coronavirus. The project developed guidelines for using plasma and has detailed information for potential donors and Covid-19 patients.

Before the FDA acted, some of the researchers in the project were independently testing the antibody-rich plasma on a handful of seriously sick patients. It’s too soon to know the outcome, but initial reports suggest the therapy may be lessening their symptoms.

Using blood and plasma from recovered patients goes back more than 100 years. Before antibiotics, it was one of the only therapies available. It was sufficiently successful that it’s been used to treat other types of diseases such as SARS and Ebola. Though clinical studies of the therapies are few, a detailed analysis published in 2014 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases concluded, “Convalescent plasma may reduce mortality and appears safe.”

Meanwhile, blood banks across the country are looking to healthy, uninfected individuals to make up for the cancellation of blood drives, which provide about 80% of the nation’s blood supply. There’s still a need for blood, even though demand has lessened as elective surgeries are postponed and accidents and traumatic injuries have declines with fewer people driving.

At Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, which conducted its own blood drive, emergency physician Baruch Fertel said that as long as donations continue, “We can stay out of trouble. But we’re not out of the woods. Folks who are healthy and recovered should consider giving blood.”

Photo by Testalize.me on Unsplash

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