Some people in the D.C. region who have recovered from the coronavirus are now hoping their plasma might help save the very ill.
Loudoun County, Virginia, resident Amy Bobchek is back to work, from home, after spending a couple of weeks sick with COVID-19.
She began to feel sick in mid-March, shortly after she returned from a business trip to New York City.
"I was sick for about 10 days. The predominant symptom for me was fatigue and a total lack of energy," Bobcheck said.
Bobcheck was one of the first 20 cases in Loudoun County.
Now fully recovered, she returned to a drive-thru testing site recently in her quest to become a plasma donor.
"I do need to have a couple of confirmed negative tests before I’m eligible to donate plasma. So as soon as I can do that, I’m going to be signing up to donate," she said.
Her results came back negative Monday morning. One more negative result and she can try to move ahead with what’s known as convalescent plasma donation.
With the procedure, very ill patients are given an infusion that contains antibodies from the recovered patient — antibodies that could help fight the virus.
The Red Cross is already reaching out and seeking to collect plasma from former coronavirus patients — setting up this website for potential donors to apply.
Bobchek says that’s where she’ll go as soon as possible.
"This plasma donation gives us the biggest chance to really help other people who might have much much more serious cases," she said.
But she hopes her experience sets another example: that if the guidelines are followed, coronavirus can be kept in check.
"We sanitized everything and we hand washed and hand washed and nobody got sick. So, if we can do it with the virus in our house you can do it too," Bobcheck said.
The National Institutes of Health and Virginia Hospital Center are also involved in clinical trials to see if the infusions cans help seriously ill patients.