Family shares struggles of finding COVID-19 plasma; donor denied because he's gay

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020
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CHINO HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Kelli Bronson of Chino Hills hasn't seen her 55-year-old husband Timothy Bronson in nearly two weeks, unable to visit him at San Antonio Regional Medical Center in Upland where he's being treated for COVID-19.

"We're very hopeful that the plasma will be an effective treatment for him, and that he'll make a full recovery," said Bronson.

Timothy Bronson is an essential worker, a manager of Super A Foods Grocery Store in Glassell Park. The Bronsons have been desperate to get Timothy plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient, but it was a slow and difficult process.

"We had a plasma donor who met all the criteria, made it through screening process and because of some ridiculous outdated FDA regulation that state's a homosexual man could not donate his plasma, he had to be turned away," said Kelli Bronson.

The FDA has been petitioned to change that rule, which dates back to the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and currently requires gay men to wait three months after having COVID-19 to give blood. Timothy Bronson had to wait four more days for a second plasma match and received the treatment Sunday night. His doctor says recovered COVID patients have encountered difficulty in obtaining a second test to prove they're negative.

"I just don't see a strong effort nationwide to go after these patients to obtain their plasma. I'm not sure why, and I'm frustrated myself, and I hope there's more effort," said Timothy Bronson's doctor, Dr. Elbert Chang, who is the director of pulmonary at San Antonio Regional Medical Center.

"There needs to be a national registry of coronavirus sufferers who have met the criteria, who have gone through the screening process so that other people in the same situation as my husband aren't waiting," said Kelli Bronson.

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