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Blood plasma from COVID-19 recoveries being used to treat sick patients at Upstate Hospital

Ryan Delaney
WRVO News File Photo
Upstate University Hospital.

Blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients is currently being pumped into the veins of sick patients at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. A pair of women are the first to donate their blood plasma. Doctors hope it can help some of the sickest victims of the coronavirus. 

Upstate, as part of the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, started recruiting donated blood plasma a couple of weeks ago. Stephanie Price, from Ontario County, was one of the first to answer the call. She spent this week having her blood tested, to make sure she no longer had the virus, and then donated blood at the Red Cross in Central New York. She said recovering from the virus gave her the opportunity to help someone else. When she heard about the trial, she had some initial concerns, but dismissed them when she realized how helpful her plasma could be.

“A lot of people are fearful it’s going to take their immunity away,” Price said. “I’m not going to lie, it crossed my mind. Is it going to take my immunity? Is it going to take what I’ve built up away? But it doesn’t, because your body continues to build those antibodies. Don’t be afraid. Realize this is one step closer to a vaccine.”

Her advice for anyone else who’s recovered?

“Be courageous to step forward to help others,” Price said. “Because if it was your family, if they need someone else’s plasma? That’s how I viewed it.”

Physicians believe antibodies in the plasma from an individual who’s recovered from COVID, can reduce the symptoms and severity of current COVID patients. Upstate is still looking for more donors who have been symptom free for 14 days.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.