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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Survivors of COVID-19 have the chance to pay it forward and help save others

Public health experts say it is a race against time to develop life saving therapies for COVID-19 and the key to development is in the plasma of COVID- 19 survivors.

SAN DIEGO — A new national campaign called, The Fight Is In Us is urging survivors of coronavirus to donate blood plasma now to prepare for a possible COVID-19 resurgence in the fall.

"What we are seeing in South America is a rising in COVID-19 cases now which may mean the seasons are impacting the coronavirus, which means the Northern Hemisphere may see more cases in fall and early winter again," said Dr. Bill Mezzanotte, head of research and development at CSL Behring, a biotech company that manufactures remedies for serious and rare diseases.

He said time is of the essence because there is just a two-month window when a survivor's blood plasma contains the ideal number of crucial antibodies needed to help others.  

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"So the sooner to your infection you donate, the higher the level of antibodies you have and the potency of antibody seems to be higher as well and the most impactful on the disease," said Dr. Mezzanotte.

Survivors do not have to get an antibody test first, they just need documentation proving that they had the disease.

"Either [proof] they had a viral test in the beginning and it shows that they had the virus and recovered or they can have an antibody test that says that they have clearly been exposed to COVID," said Dr. Mezzanotte.

A plasma donation is similar to giving blood. That plasma will be directly infused into another person who has COVID, or it can be combined with others to help create a medicine. 

"They have something they can do now. The plasma they have is rich in these antibodies and can save the lives of other individuals down the road. So it is a pay it forward," said Dr. Mezzanotte.

To see if you're eligible to participate in The Fight Is In Us, visit thefightisinus.org

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