Health Minister wants recovered COVID-19 patients to donate blood

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, is appealing to persons who have recovered from the coronavirus (COVID-19) to donate blood to assist in the treatment of patients who are fighting the virus.

Dr Christopher Tufton

The Minister’s appeal is in support of a call by the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) for COVID-19 survivors to donate blood, from which plasma will be extracted to treat patients, who are critically ill, as a part of a new clinical trial.

Speaking on Thursday (September 10) during the weekly virtual COVID Conversations press briefing at the Ministry’s office in Kingston, Tufton said the approach by the UHWI is one that is being tested globally and has been approved by the hospital’s ethics board.

“Essentially, they get positive recovered cases to donate blood and they extract from that the plasma, which should have some antibodies, and they use that to treat existing positive cases, more specifically, those who are being severely affected by the COVID infection,” the Minister explained.

“I say to Jamaicans, if you had COVID and recovered and you think that this is something you’d like to participate in, to contact the UHWI. I’m sure they’ll give you all the other details of this, and it may be worth your while to contribute to helping to treat other patients,” he said.

He noted that the procedure is relatively harmless for the blood donor and could prove to be beneficial for the patient who will be treated.

“So, it really is giving back based on the all-of-society approach to treating with the COVID response,” Tufton said.