People who have recovered from COVID-19 may have an outlet to help those ill with the disease caused by the new coronavirus: Donating their plasma.
In Arizona, a blood donation company, Vitalant (formerly United Blood Services), is starting to allow recovered patients to donate as part of a pilot program.
Blood tests for antibodies to the novel coronavirus will be “foundational, fundamental,” to sending Californians back to work, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday. But medical experts caution that there’s still a lot we don’t know about whether the tests are reliable enough to ensure people’s safety.
We still don’t know how many people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Not only have countries struggled to roll out wide-scale testing for the virus, those efforts inevitably will miss people who have recovered from an infection. The best way to figure out how far and wide the virus has spread in a population is to look at blood. Antibodies, blood proteins that the immune system produces to attack pathogens, are viral fingerprints that remain long after infections are cleared. Sensitive tests can detect them even in people who never felt a single symptom of COVID-19.
In a new frontier to fight COVID-19, Bay Area researchers are racing to develop new blood tests that can not only help diagnose the disease, but could help determine whether people become immune after catching it and lay the groundwork for a vaccine.
Vitalant Research Institute is pleased to announce that one of our lead investigators and vice president of research and scientific programs, Dr. Brian Custer, is being inducted into the National Blood Foundation’s (NBF) Hall of Fame.
Earlier this summer, Pooja Bhardwaj, PhD, was awarded the Cynthia Bolovan-Fritts Research Excellence Award at the 9th annual Bay Area Symposium on Viruses held at UC Berkeley. The award is presented annually to an up-and-coming researcher with the best poster at the symposium.