Haims: Blood donations may help defeat COVID-19 | VailDaily.com

Haims: Blood donations may help defeat COVID-19

Currently, there is no cure for COVID-19. Although there are some drugs getting much attention (Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin), none are proven to be a cure and more research is needed.

However, there is a tried-and-tested therapy that may lead to an effective cure called plasma therapy. This therapy uses antibodies acquired from the blood of people who have already fully recovered from COVID-19. Once the antibodies are collected, researchers believe that the antibodies can be infused into patients who are ill and thus assist in neutralizing infections.

Plasma therapy has been used to treat several diseases. Before vaccines were made available to treat measles, mumps, polio, and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, this therapy was used. More recently, this therapy has been used in an attempt to cure MERS, SARS, and H1N1.

At Shenzen Third People’s Hospital in China, plasma therapy has proven to be effective in decreasing the viral loads of COVID-19. The viral loads that occur with COVID-19 can happen rapidly — this is known as a cytokine storm.

As mentioned in my column from March 31, “a cytokine storm occurs when an overactive immune response wreaks havoc on healthy lung tissue which leads to acute respiratory distress and multi-organ failure. Unfortunately, without being identified quickly, a cytokine storm syndrome is frequently fatal.”

Restarting our economy and getting back to a new normal is going to depend on our ability to manage the spread of this virus and find a cure.

At Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers believe that in order to reduce the spread of the virus, we will need to learn more about antibodies, people’s immunity, and achieving a herd immunity.

According to an April 10 article from Johns Hopkins, “When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, this provides indirect protection — or herd immunity (also called herd protection) — to those who are not immune to the disease.

For example, if 80% of a population is immune to a virus, four out of every five people who encounter someone with the disease won’t get sick (and won’t spread the disease any further). In this way, the spread of infectious diseases is kept under control. Depending on how contagious infection is, usually 70% to 90% of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity.”

Achieving herd immunity will take time. Until this happens, we must remain vigilant in maintaining social distancing. We all can also help by contributing blood to our blood banks. The Red Cross is looking for people who have fully recovered from the virus to donate blood. Antibodies in your blood may very well provide temporary relief to others who are in life-threatening positions. Further, your donated blood may greatly assist scientists in developing a cure.

If you are inclined to donate blood, please contact an American Red Cross or Vitalant location — there are several locations in Denver. Locally, one of our veterinarians at Gypsum Animal Hospital, Dr. Nadine Lober, is working to establish a donation program. Dr. Lober can be contacted at covid19vail@gmail.com.

Please help support our local restaurants and do a good deed by purchasing a meal for our first responders.

Northside Kitchen and Southside Benderz: Northside is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for gift certificate purchase. Or, please call 970-949-1423. Southside Benderz is open from noon to 8 p.m. and can be reached at 970-470-4730.

Pazzo’s Pizzeria: Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Avon (970-949-9900), Eagle (970-337-9900) and Vail (970-476-9026). Closed Sundays in Avon and Vail and Mondays in Eagle.

Red Canyon Café in Eagle: Open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 970-328-2232.

The Boneyard: Open for business every day from 4-7 p.m. To purchase gift certificates, please call Yuri directly at 970-471-0396.

You can also make an online GoFundMe donation at Eagle County Heroes.

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