Central California Blood Center on the cutting edge of possible COVID-19 treatment

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The Central California Blood Center on the cutting edge of possible COVID-19 treatment. ​

The blood center says they are the first in the country to produce “pathogen-reduced plasma” from patients who have already recovered from the coronavirus. That plasma has antibodies and is believed to help treat patients who are critically ill from the virus. ​

The emergency experimental treatment has been approved by the FDA and many are optimistic about it– including recovering COVID-19 patients who see this as a way to save the lives of others. ​

“Plasma therapy could be a bridge to get our society better treatment until we have a vaccine hopefully,” said Christopher Staub, President and CEO of the California Blood Center. 

The center is calling on people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma.

Doctors say the antibodies to the virus that remain in their blood can be transfused into a person still fighting the virus, boosting their immune system and helping them recover. ​

Blood centers across the country have started collecting plasma from recovered patients, but the Central California Blood Center is the first to provide pathogen-reduced plasma.  ​

“It’s a newer, safer way to produce blood products. If there were germs, virus, or bacteria in the product, this pathogen activation process would destroy the germs,” said Staub.

“I would not wish this upon anyone else,” said Goon Pattanumotana, recovering from COVID-19​.

We first met Pattanumotana on Saturday, as he battled COVID-19 in his hospital bed at St. Agnes Medical Center. ​

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​”It’s always good to sleep in my own bed,” Pattanumotana said. 

After a week- long stay, he’s back at his home recovering.​

​”For those people who are still battling this I do actually wish them good luck. It is a possibility to basically, you know, turn things around so it’s not a, it’s not an end all,” said Pattanumotana.  ​

He’s eager to give back and could be one of the first to donate his plasma. ​

​”I would certainly donate it back to society, again to basically help out for those future people who will be sick,” said Pattanumotana. 

​”We would love to get anyone who has recovered, this would be a great way for them to save lives,” said Staub. 

There are several important requirements for people before they can donate. ​First they need evidence of a positive COVID-19 test. They need to be asymptomatic for more than two weeks​ and they also need a negative COVID-19 test.

If you think you are eligible, contact your healthcare provider. ​

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