Bronx residents who are sick with or have recovered from COVID-19 can now help to develop diagnostics, therapies and a vaccine for the disease by donating blood from home.
Biological Specialty Company (BSC) is a service supplying more than 30,000 pharma, biotech, diagnostic and government researchers with human blood products for scientific research.
“It is critically important that the scientific community has access to COVID-19 positive blood samples to advance medical discoveries. We have received hundreds of calls from researchers looking for these samples and most COVID-19 survivors want to do everything they can to help eradicate this disease,” said Lori Ball, chief operating officer at BSC. “We have established a fleet of mobile blood donation units to enable patients to help get these vital COVID-19 positive blood samples into the hands of researchers who need them.”
When patients contact BSC, they will be asked some qualifying questions to confirm their eligibility to participate. BSC is seeking blood donors who are over the age of 18 with COVID-19 positive test results confirmed by nasal swab or blood marker.
Patients’ personal information will be kept confidential and only health-related data will accompany their blood sample. They will be asked to provide demographic information such as age, race, gender, medications taken, comorbidities, and smoking status in addition to answering questions about their illness such as symptoms and date of onset.
Donating Blood in Quarantine
After a COVID-19 patient makes a blood donation appointment, a BSC phlebotomist, dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE), will arrive at their home, explain the informed consent and collection process and collect the blood sample. Then, they will send the sample to BSC’s lab for processing and distribution.
Donating Blood Post Recovery
People who have recovered from COVID-19 and have had no symptoms for at least 28 days, and have had no close contact exposure to a person with confirmed COVID-19 for 28 days, can donate via the mobile service or make an appointment to visit a BSC blood donor center.
By supporting the development of a vaccine or therapy for COVID-19, both sick and recovered patients can play an active role in the race to target a cure.
“This crisis, it’s unique,” Ball said. “There are so many unanswered questions around COVID.”