Mainers who have recovered from coronavirus urged to donate plasma

Published: May. 5, 2020 at 12:01 AM EDT
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Mainers who have recovered from the coronavirus are being asked to donate their antibodies through plasma in order to help study a possible treatment for the virus.

Christine Wolff was one of the people rolling up their sleeves to donate plasma on Monday. She recovered from COVID-19 after getting it in mid-March.

"As much as I don't really like giving blood usually because my veins can be really hard to find, I'm like, 'hey if this can help people I will come in and do it and hopefully help save a life,'" Wolff said.

Halie Strack, a nurse at Maine Medical Center in Portland, was also donating plasma Monday after recovering from the virus.

"I didn't have a bad case of it, which I was really lucky about, but people who are really struggling, if you're feeling well enough to do it and you're fully recovered, (donating plasma is) really important," Strack said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is studying plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, which is known as convalescent plasma, as a possible treatment for the virus.

Matt Newey, a 23-year-old videographer from Utah, also contracted the virus in mid-March. He has been documenting his experience with COVID-19, and now that he has recovered, he is eager to give back. He was able to make a donation appointment after trying several times.

"They said, 'hey, we've got an emergency. There's patient in the hospital who's in critical condition and needs your plasma,'" Newey said.

The FDA has fast-tracked its study in order to make a definitive determination that convalescent plasma can treat COVID-19. For now, there is no conclusive proof that it does.

There are a number of criteria potential donors have to meet before they're approved, including being symptom-free for at least 14 days. Anyone who is interested in donating plasma can refer to an eligibility form on the American Red Cross' website.