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Blood banks call for plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors to treat other patients

Coronavirus

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Blood banks in the Bay Area and across the country are asking people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma in order to try and treat other patients still suffering from the virus.

KRON4 talked to the family of a San Francisco woman who believes this experimental treatment can save her life.

“I lost my mom six months ago so Mary is like my second mother. She’s the only older generation I have left I just really want to fight for her, I just love her so much and I want her to recover,” Cynthia Franck said. 

Cynthia Franck is talking about her Aunt Mary who was hospitalized Wednesday morning with coronavirus.

“From eight in the morning till two in the afternoon, she had to be intubated, she couldn’t breathe that quickly and it progressed,” Franck said. 

Franck says the 88-year-old San Francisco native didn’t qualify for the experimental antiviral drug treatment for the disease because she is too critically ill.  

So now they are hoping to get her another experimental treatment, an infusion of plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient.

“If someone has recovered from COVID they will have antibodies against the virus in her bloodstream and if we could take a liquid part of the blood plasma, it will contain those antibodies and then we can infuse it into someone else and then the theory is those antibodies will bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s in the patient’s blood and neutralize it and help that patient get better,” Dr. Philip Norris said. 

Dr. Philip Norris is with vitalant which along with the Red Cross is putting out the call for those now non symptomatic coronavirus survivors to come forward and donate their plasma.

“We don’t know if it’s life saving but it has potential to be life-saving for someone who has severe COVID and there are case reports of people getting his therapy and getting better very rapidly, so we’re hopeful again we need to test it in clinical trials but we’re hopeful that it has a profound beneficial fact it and people who are affected infected,” Norris said. 

Franck believes she’s found a potential donor in LA with her aunt’s blood type, who lost her own husband because he couldn’t get plasma in time.

“So she wants to do everything she can to help save other people and I think she’s so amazing her husband’s funeral is today and she wants to go donate afterwards,” Franck said. 

There are many more patients who may benefit with this treatment.  

Those recovered coronavirus patients interested in donating can register online:

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