antibodies

San Diego Blood Bank Helping to Fight COVID-19 Variants with Antibody Research Program

The life-saving organization has teamed up with a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services to collect plasma from eligible people who have been vaccinated and never contracted COVID-19

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A new treatment to help fight COVID-19 variants could be on the way, thanks to the San Diego Blood Bank.

They’ve teamed up with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority or (BARD), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to help fight COVID infections that are filling up San Diego hospitals.

San Diegan Andrea Gonzalez says she’s “absolutely” ready to sign up and become a participant in the San Diego Blood Bank's COVID-19 vaccine antibody research program.

“I’m worried about myself to be frankly honest," Gonzalez said.

Not only because she says she’s immunocompromised, but because she’s concerned about her two children who can’t get vaccinated yet because of their age, and because she says it’s just the right thing to do for others.

“I believe we're all interconnected,” explains Gonzalez. “If life hasn't shown us that, all the death certainly has shown us we are interconnected and interdependent. So I want to do my part.”

Doing her part could mean going to the San Diego Blood Bank and having her plasma drawn.

The life-saving organization has teamed with a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services to collect plasma from eligible people who have been vaccinated and never contracted COVID-19.

Antibodies from the vaccine found in the plasma will be tested against new variants as they emerge.

“It will potentially help us find therapies to treat people with the COVID-19 variants. Research is terribly important in order for us to figure out ways to treat people," explained Claudine Van Gonka, director of Community Relations and Marketing.

David Pride, M.D., P.h.D., who’s an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego says it’s something that could potentially add to our armamentarium against COVID-19.

He noted, "The idea is very similar to one of I.V.I.G. (Intravenous immune globulin), meaning take a vaccinated person, you know they've got high levels of the antibodies. Therefore we can give their serum with the antibodies to other individuals who might be experiencing COVID disease with the idea that maybe some of those antibodies will bind to the COVID and prevent it from replicating nearly as much. And thus maybe your disease will be less severe."

Researchers are hoping to use the plasma collected to help create what they're calling an interagency, COVID-19, serum biorepository to support future investigations.

But so far only about 20 people have signed up for the research program.

The blood bank says they're looking for a little more than 100-people total.

Here’s the link to see if you’re eligible to participate.

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