Antibodies from donated blood key to COVID-19 fight

State News

FILE – In this Friday, June 12, 2020 file photo, a woman has blood drawn for COVID-19 antibody testing in Dearborn, Mich. Research published on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 suggests that antibodies the immune system makes to fight the new coronavirus may only last a few months in people with mild illness. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — People who have suffered through COVID-19 have a valuable weapon for those fighting the coronavirus now: antibodies.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that the Central Illinois Community Blood Center is collecting plasma from the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients.

Kristi White of Springfield said although COVID-19 prompted coughing fits and sapped her energy for weeks, she was not hospitalized. And she remembered hearing about a co-worker’s friend who was seriously ill with COVID-19. Treatment with antibodies from donated plasma saved him.

“I’ve never done blood donation, but I felt like this was important enough that if you can help, you kind of need to,” she said.

The fall surge in the virus has pushed up demand. Memorial Health System says that nearly one-third of the patients in its five central Illinois hospitals has COVID-19.

Donors can give blood multiple times while they retain antibodies.. Donors sit beside a machine that separates plasma from donated blood and returns the remaining components to the donor.

“The need for convalescent plasma, it’s very high, and we really need the donors to come up and help us out,” blood center medical director Ruchika Goal said. “So they can really do a selfless, heroic act to save someone’s life.”

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