A physician at Mount Sinai Hospital has issued an appeal online for anyone who has recently recovered from the coronavirus to volunteer to have their blood tested for high levels of virus-fighting antibodies.
“COVID Plasma Needed!!!! This is for NYC but hoping this will become available country wide over the next few days/weeks,” the doctor wrote in the frantic message on a Facebook group.
“If your antibody levels are high, we will work with you to see if you are both willing and qualified to donate plasma at a nearby blood donation center,” the doctor wrote on a Facebook group.
“Patients recently recovered from COVID-19 have high levels of immunity in the form of antibodies in their blood that can be transfused into very sick COVID-19 patients in our hospitals,” the doctor wrote.
“This treatment is known as ‘human convalescent plasma’ and has been used in previous pandemics. We are ready to start treating patients later this week, but need your help.”
Volunteers are asked to send an email to COVIDSerumTesting@mountsinai.org.
The appeal comes as researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have developed an antibody test for COVID-19 and shared the directions online.
Florian Krammer, a virologist at the school in Manhattan, told Science Magazine that labs could easily scale the test to “screen a few thousand people a day” for antibodies.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said state health officials were testing the process of taking plasma from someone who has been infected, processing it and injecting the antibodies into a sick person to stimulate their immune system.