Recovered COVID-19 patient donates plasma to help others


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With the number of COVID-19 survivors increasing so is the amount of plasma teeming with antibodies designed to fight the virus.

At Upstate University Hospital that plasma is being used experimentally to treat patients.

Sam Price from Farmington, New York, just north of Canandaigua, was diagnosed with COVID-19 back on March 22. She has now fully recovered and on Monday, she donated her plasma at the Liverpool Red Cross.

“I woke up and it hit me like a MAC truck,” said Price. She had woken up with chills, body aches and a 104-degree fever.

“My symptoms only lasted three-and-a-half days,” Price told NewsChannel 9.

For 29-year-old Price, a new, active mom and healthcare worker, the decision to give her plasma after recovering from COVID-19 only came natural.

“I mean we save lives on a daily basis,” said Price. “And I wanted to help… try and give somebody a second chance at life in this way.”

Price heard about the Upstate study from a friend in Syracuse and knew she had to help.

“Our plasma from being recovered is going to get us one step closer to a vaccine,” said Price. “It may not be a cure, but we’re going to be able to create something to give antibodies to people.”

Her mom, husband and son all developed symptoms, but were never tested. If she could help them, she could help a stranger.

“And I want these people that are getting my plasma to have that next holiday or next birthday with their family again,” said Price.

“I think the sheer number of people who have raised their hand to be screened speaks volumes to the type of community we live in,” said Dr. Stephen Thomas from Upstate University Hospital.

So far, 140 have volunteered their plasma and six donors, including Price, have given an incredible gift.

“You know, it’s not just a community adhering to physical distancing policies,” said Thomas, “It’s also the community of survivors who are now participating in the care of their neighbors, so I guess the message is ‘Thank you.'”

So far, four patients have started receiving this plasma, two on Tuesday and two on Wednesday.

Thomas said the goal is to boost the immune systems of critical patients and give them a better chance at fighting the virus.

If you are over 18 and have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and then recovered, your blood could help save a life by lessening symptoms of a patient who is severely ill.

Call (315) 464-9869 or email if you would like to take part.

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For more local news, follow Rob Hackford on Twitter @Robert_Hackford.

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