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What You Need to Know About Blood Donation to Fight Coronavirus – NBC New York


Tiffany Pinkney remembers the horror when COVID-19 stole his breath. So when she recovered, her mother in New York City became one of the first survivors in the country to donate her blood to help treat other critically ill patients.

“It’s definitely overwhelming to know that there may be an answer in my blood,” Pinkney told the Associated Press.

Doctors around the world are overcoming a century-old cure for infectious diseases. Infusion of plasma filled with immune molecules that helped survivors overcome the new coronavirus. There is no evidence that it works. But previous patients in Houston and New York were early donors, and now hospitals and blood centers are potentially ready for hundreds of survivors to follow.

“We’re calling for a lot of action,” said Dr. David Reich, chairman of the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, who declared that Pinkney had recovered and competed for blood sampling. “People feel very helpless in the face of this disease, and this is one of the things people can do to help fellow humans.”

“I hope it works,” he said, when treatment began.

Where can I donate plasma?

  • The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project is looking for recovered COVID-19 patients from across the country. Click here to fill out the contact form.
  • Mount Sinai Hospital is looking for a donor in the New York metropolitan area. Click here to sign up.
  • The red cross Registry For those who want to donate through the Red Cross.
  • Note: Potential donors are asked to register on one site to avoid confusion

General surgeon Jerome Adams said Thursday that “everyone” should consider blood donation to combat the current national shortage.

How Can My Blood Help?

What is called “convalescent serum” in history books was most famously used during the 1918 influenza pandemic. why? Once infected, the body begins to make proteins called antibodies specifically designed to target the bacterium. These antibodies float in survivors’ blood, specifically plasma, the yellowish liquid portion of blood for months and even years.

When a new disease emerges and scientists are fighting for vaccines and drugs, it is “ a temporary measure that we can quickly do, ” Dr. Jeffrey Henderson of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said. Surveys that support nationwide development.

“This is not a cure in itself, but a way to reduce the severity of the disease,” Henderson said.

Doctors do not know how long survivors’ antibodies to COVID-19 persist.

But for now, “they are the safest people on the street,” said Dr. Rebecca Haley of Bloodworks Northwest of Seattle, who is working to identify donors. “We are not going to make a dent in their antibody supply for themselves.”

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration told hospitals how to seek emergency case-by-case permission to use convalescent plasma, and Houston Methodist Hospital and Mount Sinai jumped at the opportunity.

And the desperate masses responded, taking their family to social media to plead on behalf of sick loved ones and those who are recovering, and asked how they could donate . According to Michigan State University, more than 1,000 people registered with the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project alone. Dozens of hospitals have formed the group to promote plasma donation and research.

Donors don’t just come to blood centers. People with infections that have been shown to be asymptomatic for several weeks need to be tested to make sure the virus is gone. You must also be in good health to meet other blood donation requirements. In addition, you will have additional tests to make sure your antibody levels are high enough.

“You don’t want to get plasma from someone who has had a mediocre immune response. It won’t help,” said Dr. Julie Leisurewood of the National Institutes of Health.

A Chinese physician reported last week that all five patients given convalescent plasma showed some improvement after about a week. However, they have also received other treatments, and without rigorous research, there is no way to know if plasma has made a difference.

Research is planned to test convalescent plasma for regular care of sick patients and to prevent transmission of people at high risk of exposure, such as healthcare professionals.

Another approach: Grifols, a Spanish-based plasma maker, aims to concentrate donor plasma at a North Carolina plant and create a high-dose version that also requires testing.

Mayor Bill de Brasio announced on Thursday that residents of all cities should wear face covers whenever they go to public places. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy says the model shows that next week, if his state is not socially separated, it will already reach ICU capacity and reach the maximum in bed.

NBC New York’s Ray Vileda and Chekeybeck Ford report.

Separately, NIH researchers measure antibody levels in survivors to find out how strongly a vaccine under development needs to be protected. Other teams, including Tsinghua University in Beijing, are exploring which antibodies are the most powerful and can be copied and turned into drugs in the lab.

But donations from people like Pinkney could be used as fast as a blood center could handle it. She got sick in the first week of March. At first there was heat and chills. She could not hold her breath and her deep breath caused chest pain. The single mother worried her son, 9 and 16.

“I remember crying and praying on my bathroom floor,” said the 39-year-old.

So, when she diagnosed her, Mt. Sinai called Pinkney to confirm her recovery and ask if she would consider a donation.

“It’s humble, and for me it’s a sign of hope for someone else,” she said.


The Associated Press Health Sciences Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science Education Department. AP is solely responsible for all content.


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