‘Fragments of dead virus’ preventing recovered coronavirus patients from donating plasma

screenshot how blood plasma companies target the poorest americans
Credit: Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Close to four weeks after recovering from a Covid-19 infection, Jennie Novakovic went to her local hospital hoping to donate blood plasma to help severely ill patients.

Instead, she learned she wasn’t eligible to donate. She tested positive again for the disease.

Programs are ramping up all over the country to collect convalescent plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients. Researchers are hoping the antibody-rich plasma can help neutralize the coronavirus when transfused into patients who are severely ill.

But some people who want to donate find out they can’t because they are still testing Covid-positive. They are symptom-free, have come out of self-quarantine or isolation and more or less resumed their regular lives. Learning they remain Covid-positive is unsettling and confusing, both for the prospective donors and for the doctors and scientists trying to understand what it means and advise them on what to do.

Related article:  'The fittest among us?': Why are preteens at lowest risk from coronavirus?

As the number of recovered Covid-19 patients seeking to donate plasma rises, the meaning of a positive test remains a source of debate and discussion.

But current evidence indicates that positive test results in recovered patients are likely because of “fragments of dead virus” that won’t cause infections but are picked up by the test… .

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