Coronavirus survivor helps to find a vaccine
"I WOULD like to think that people would come forward in their droves to be part of this."
That's the wish of Jim Roberts, 71, who is donating plasma at Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (formerly known at the Blood Bank) in Lismore.
But his is no ordinary plasma.
Mr Roberts contracted COVID-19 after he and his wife took a cruise on the Ruby Princess earlier this year.
Now his plasma will be used in vital reaech to find a vaccine.
Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that contains antibodies and can only be donated by someone with a confirmed laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, who has fully recovered from the virus and been symptom-free for at least 28 days.
Once someone has recovered from COVID-19, the antibodies against the virus remain in their plasma.
He said plasma donation was a painless process and urged anyone else who had recovered to get involved.
"This is my small contribution to held the community fight this pandemic," he said.
"I hope that by telling my story of recovering from COVID-19, other people who have also recovered will step forward and offer to be part of the research by donating plasma."
According to chief executive Shelly Park, the organisation started collecting convalescent plasma for the first time on May 11, in a bid to try and help the fight against COVID-19.
"Plasma donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19 may help boost the immunity of patients still battling the disease," she said.
"The plasma we collect will be used to treat patients in clinical trials, both as a form of direct treatment and as a medication called COVID-19 Immunoglobulin, which may provide passive immunity against coronavirus infections."
Convalescent plasma is being trialled as a treatment for patients suffering from COVID-19 in countries including Canada, the US, the UK and China.
In addition to the recovery period, donors need to meet Lifeblood's eligibility criteria.
If you have recovered from a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and believe you may be eligible to donate, please call 13 14 95 and mention that you want to donate convalescent plasma or visit lifeblood.com.au.