Scientists ask coronavirus survivors to donate blood for research

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SAN DIEGO — Scripps Research and UC San Diego have teamed up and are looking for volunteers — more specifically, they’re looking for coronavirus survivors who are willing to donate blood that would be screened for antibodies capable of fighting the coronavirus.

The effort, which is happening at institutes around the country, is seen as a potentially effective way of saving lives while giving scientists the time they need to develop a vaccine.

The scientists say they are looking for people who have already recovered from coronavirus — ideally a month or two ago — because they say antibodies tend to improve with time.

Antibodies are proteins that help keep people healthy. They identify and attempt to neutralize foreign substances in the body, like bacteria and viruses.

The research team is currently looking for five to 10 people to donate their blood. The problem researchers face with pursuing this goal in San Diego is finding people who have been recovered for one or two months, since testing at the local level has only just begun.

If the researchers do find donors and useful antibodies, they plan to clone the cells to produce lots more research-grade antibodies. Even with that uncertain timeline, researchers say large-scale use of these sought-after antibodies will take months.

Coronavirus survivors who are interested in donating their blood for research can contact Dr. Tom Rogers, a professor of medicine at UC San Diego, at trogers@scripps.edu.

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