Coronavirus News: New York City hospitals looking for COVID-19 plasma donations

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Doctors are looking for plasma donors who have recovered from COVID-19, as the plasma could contain antibodies that can help critically ill patients.

Columbia University Medical Center is vamping up its plasma clinic this week, looking for donors.

"This is bigger than us all, so we're trying to do what we can," said Dr. Eldad Hod, of Columbia University Medical Center. "I've been working on this 24/7 for the past three weeks."

It's not always a quick process. Patients who have recovered have to test negative for the virus first, but some patients are learning two to three weeks later that the virus is still in the system.

"You can find people who are positive for two or three weeks after having symptoms, and I'll tell you honestly, we still don't know exactly what that means," Dr. Hod said.

And once they receive those donations, they have to determine how to do it safely.

"There is a potential for it to be harmful," Dr. Hod said.

They're trying to find out where the plasma will work best, for example, in those with breathing problems, those on ventilators, and possibly even front line workers as a preventative measure.

"If you give health care workers a dose before they go out and see patients and a means to protect them from getting it in the first place, or you go to a nursing home and give it to all of the nursing home patients," Dr. Hod said.

Columbia University Medical Center is one of many hospitals in the area looking for plasma donations.

If you're interested in donating, please click here: https://recruit.cumc.columbia.edu/clinical_trial/1929

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