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‘I don’t like to see people suffer’ - Covid-19 survivor discusses donation of antibodies-laden plasma

Having survived coronavirus, Jean-Pierre van Heerden is now donating his plasma to help other Covid-19 patients have an easier time.

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Convalescent plasma from virus survivors contains antibodies to Covid-19 that can assist those battling the virus. Source: 1 NEWS

Plasma treatment has been used since the 1920s and in recent years it has been employed in the fight against SARS, H1N1, influenza and other viruses.

Convalescent plasma is taken from fully recovered Covid-19 patients that pose no risk to others, with the plasma containing antibodies to coronavirus, which can assist those currently battling the virus.

Mr van Heerden said he was contacted by NZ Blood about 10 days ago and he had no hesitation about donating after learning that it would help others.

“I was all in favour of helping out. I don’t like to see people suffer,” he said.

Though he was a little apprehensive about today’s donation, having passed out when giving blood before.

“The last time I’ve given blood, I passed out,” he said.

Mr van Heerden said recovery from the virus took him a month.

“I don’t wish it upon anybody. At the beginning it felt like it was flu, a couple of days later it was much worse than that,” he said.

“From there things got really scary. You don’t know where things are going to end up, if you’re going to come out of hospital and survive it.

“A lot of things going through your head, fearing for your life, thinking about your family and wanting to get back home.”