LifeShare Texarkana takes first COVID-19 plasma donations

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"I have been an active blood donor for 15 years".

She stressed that convalescent plasma is likely to be an interim solution - if it works - and that other treatments that exploit antibodies to COVID-19 will likely replace it.

Plasma is harvested with a process called apheresis, which extracts the liquid component of the blood and returns red blood cells and platelets to the donor.

London's Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said helped save his life after he fell gravely ill with COVID-19, is to test the so-called "convalescent plasma" treatment as part of an worldwide trial.

Recovered COVID-19 patient Paul Butler donates plasma Monday, April 27, 2020, at LifeShare Blood Center in Texarkana, Texas.

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Researchers hope that the antibody molecules that are developed by the human immune system to fight off the virus can be used to treat other patients in the early stages of the illness. "I think I'm doing a little bit of good out of all this".

More than 6,500 people have signed up for the trial, which will begin in "the coming weeks", the hospitals' Biomedical Research Centre said. COVID-19 has proved to be far more risky than SARS but both are categorised as a coronavirus, so scientists hope that the treatment will have a similar effect on this latest outbreak.

This plasma is transfused into COVID-19 patients whose bodies are not producing enough of their own antibodies against the virus, in an attempt to support the patients fighting the disease. "We're making an important contribution to research on a global scale that could help patients in Canada and around the world".

The health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, said: "Hundreds of people are participating in national trials already for potential treatments, and the scaling up of convalescent plasma collection means thousands could potentially benefit from it in the future".

Those who are hoping to donate must be younger than 67 years old, have been previously confirmed positive for coronavirus by a laboratory test, have fully recovered, and have been symptom-free for at least 28 days prior to donating.

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