Blood donors wanted for coronavirus medicine

Blood bank Sanquin is looking for recovered coronavirus patients to donate blood plasma. Antibodies from this plasma can be put into ampoules, that can be administered to vulnerable people as a preventative or just after infection. "How wonderful would it be if we could, for example, prevent further death and devastation in nursing homes," virologist Hans Zaaijer of Sanquin said to De Telegraaf.

A coronavirus patient who is already very ill will not benefit much from antibody treatment. "But if you start at the very first - so if you have not yet contracted the virus or very early in the disease process get such a powerful ampoule with concentrated anti-coronavirus bodies - it can have a powerful preventive effect," Zaaijer said to the newspaper. 

Last month the Ministry of Public Health ordered Sanquin to collect 30 thousand kilograms of plasma with antibodies. According to Zaaijer, this requires about 16 thousand donors,who will donate plasma between four and six times. The blood bank still needs between 8 thousand and 10 thousand donors.

In June, researchers at the Amsterdam University Medical Center reported that they found two potent antibodies against the current coronavirus, which they believed were promising for treatment. "These new antibodies are a hundred times stronger than the antibodies that were already there," researcher Marit van Gils said. The fact that they are so powerful means that less of them are needed, if they prove an effective treatment, and it will therefore be cheaper to make.