COVID-19 patients donate blood, plasma to help patient research and recovery

Updated: Apr. 7, 2020 at 9:54 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - When Victoria Rochon first got her COVID- 19 diagnosis in early March, she says she felt nothing but guilt.

“Did I give this to my mom, my mom is going home to my 87-year-old grandmother is my grandmother going to be sick, I wasn’t even concerned for myself in that moment it was for others that I was around,” said Rochon.

She’s since been able to digest the diagnosis, acknowledging it was a different time when she was still interacting with classmates and family members.

“I apologized to my whole class because I said I put you all at risk… I felt I’m one of the spreaders of this virus that we’re trying to control,” said Rochon.

Rochon’s since fully recovered, and says she’s never donated blood before, but volunteered to get poked and prodded for the sake of COVID-19 research.

“I’m thankful to not have been as bad and I really feel for those critical patients and that is why I’m here today,” said Rochon.

“It's called convalescent plasma therapy,” said Dr. Eric Griggs.

Griggs says this is a proven method medicine has used to treat other viruses and diseases in the past. He says while it’s not a cure right now, it’s a strong potential treatment option.

“They’re matching them up by blood type and inject or transfer that plasma to those patients with the hopes that those antibodies does what we were talking about to help fight off the infection,” said Griggs.

“We keep our specimens in here kept in little tubes,” said Medpharmics CEO, Andrea Jeanfreau.

The only problem is, Medpharmics says they need more donors and more samples. Jeanfreau says they need donations from both those currently suffering from COVID-19, and those who have since recovered.

“The antibodies are the big thing right now because people are sick and we’re trying to save them so we get the sample we send that to the farmers the farmers can develop a medication that they can give to the patient to try and save their lives,” said Jeanfreau.

Rochon says she’s thankful to be healthy again, wanting to help prevent others from such a debilitating disease.

“I can only imagine the real critical people what they’re going through so any way I can help those people,” said Jeanfreau.

It is a one-time office visit for those who want to donate. They are accepting all ages and genders, but patients do need to test positive for COVID-19 or have proof of a positive test.

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