Coronavirus News: COVID-19 survivor steps up to donate plasma to critically ill patients

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A coronavirus survivor who works with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is stepping up to donate plasma to COVID-19 patients.

One of the many treatments being tested for COVID-19 is plasma from people who have recovered from the virus.

It was quite personal and very real for Chief Counsel to Gov. Murphy Matt Platkin when he became infected with COVID-19.

Before he even recovered, Platkin agreed to donate his blood plasma when he learned that University Hospital, along with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, was among the first in the state to get FDA approval to use this treatment for critically ill coronavirus patients.

"When he was diagnosed, I gave him a call and said if you need anything let me know," President and CEO of University Hospital Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. "And instead of calling and asking for something, he called offering his own plasma to help others."

So far, 70 people have donated blood plasma to COVID-19 patients.

"Fingers crossed, hopefully if the antibodies in my plasma were good enough, they could save somebody's life," Platkin said.

Dr. Elnahal says he's very proud that University Hospital is one of the biggest contributors to the national study that's investigating how effective plasma is on patients.

That same sense of pride was unmistakable on Platkin's face as his plasma was drawn, and he believes the governor would be proud too.

"The governor is spending every minute of his day trying to keep New Jerseyians alive, so I know he was happy and proud, I think, to see that we are living by what we say," Platkin said.

Right now, there is only one place in New Jersey where recovered patients can donate plasma. That's the New York Blood Center in New Brunswick.

However, Dr. Elnahal says they expect to have more locations by the end of May.

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