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Coronavirus survivors donate plasma hoping to heal the sick

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By Maggy DONALDSON

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© 2020 AFP

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I donated plasma for 2 summers when I was in college. When this coronavirus runs its course, if I can donate plasma again I will gladly do so.

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"We can be superheroes," the 45-year-old photographer told AFP.

For more than one day.

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I offered mine here but hey they said no.

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From what I have read about this way of attacking the disease, it has, in the past, offered only temporary assistance to an afflicted individual. Parts of the donated blood are, in the best case, able to help fight off the virus, until the body automatically removes the doanted blood from the body, and replaces it with new.

White blood cells last in the blood for between one day and a week. After about 8 weeks, the donated plasma is no longer in the body, and thus can no longer fight the virus. The donated blood does not, so far as is known, help the body become permanently immune to the virus, or even immune past the amount of time that the donated blood is in the body.

This is not to say that the donated blood is useless. Not at all. It may, in some cases, save lives.

There have also been attempts, reported in the news, that artificial anti-bodies might be possible to make, which could theoretically be more widely available than donated blood.

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Another way to look at this issue is to consider that even if it helps save lives only part of the time, the person whose life was extended by donated blood was eventually able to fight off the virus by making his or her own antibodies. The individual was able to live long enough to acquire immunity.

A similar argument can be made for the use of ventilators. Even if, as some evidence suggests, over half of those who have to go on ventilators are unable to fight off the disease, a significant percentage are nonetheless saved.

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