"(There) are early reports, primarily out of China, that giving people plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 may help the currently sick people get better faster," said Dr. Joe Chaffin, Chief Medical Officer at Lifestream Blood Bank.
The San Bernardino-based blood bank is collecting convalescent plasma whose immune-boosting antibodies can be used to treat critically ill coronavirus patients.
Yvonne Estrada, 44, was diagnosed with the virus in mid-March and has since recovered so she donated her plasma.
"I knew I wanted to donate as soon as I could, if I was even able to," said Estrada, whose donated plasma will help upward of our patients.
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Though convalescent plasma has not been fully proven to be effective in COVID-19 patients, plasma has been used in the past to help ill patients battle other viruses. Until a vaccine is available, the treatment is the only way a patient can get antibodies to fight the disease.
The treatment is very promising and demand for the plasma is high, but donors are in short supply.
"Until we get to the point where we have enough donors coming through where we have extra, for now it comes in (and) it goes out," said Dr. Chaffin.
Estrada is hopeful others who have recovered will join her and give back.
"I have no problem helping as many times as (I'm needed,)" she said.
Recovered COVID-19 patients who would like to donate their plasma must have a verified diagnosis and be symptom free for at least 14 days.