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Utah couple recovers from COVID-19, donates plasma for potential treatment

Posted at 8:10 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 00:09:17-04

TOOELE, Utah – A Utah couple made a full recovery from COVID-19 and now scientists could be getting closer to creating a treatment thanks to their plasma.

From a cruise ship in Japan, to testing positive for coronavirus, to being quarantined apart and finally coming back home – the last couple of months have been a whirlwind of COVID-19 for John and Melanie Haering.

If you ask them how they would describe the experience in one word, “Traumatic,” John said as he laughed. “We had no idea when we got on a cruise ship that this would all happen this way.”

The two have been back in their Tooele home for over a month now, both fully recovered and feeling great, but they’re not slowing down.

Instead, they found themselves at BioLife Plasma Services, a company that creates plasma-derived therapies.

“They asked us if we’d be willing to give plasma,” said John. “If we can help somebody by spending a few hours at the plasma center, that was something we were more than willing to do.”

Since the Haering’s have already been exposed to the virus, they’ve built up an immunity to it so now the goal is to use their antibodies to create a plasma-derived treatment, and potentially a cure.

“We have super antibodies is what they said,” John said.

BioLife sent a statement to FOX 13 describing their efforts.

“World-leading plasma companies, including Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, of which BioLife is a part of, have formed the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance to develop a potential plasma-derived therapy for treating COVID-19 . The alliance will begin immediately with the investigational development of an anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune immunoglobulin medicine, or H-IG, to be known as CoVIg-19, with the potential to treat high risk COVID-19 patients and potentially to prevent pulmonary disease in healthcare workers at increased risk of infection.”

“It was really a no brainer for us,” Melanie shrugged. “It’s saving lives.”

BioLife took two plasma donations from both John and Melanie, now their plasma is on its way for testing. As for John and Melanie, their COVID-19 journey continues – but this time, with new hope.

“If this plasma can give someone hope that they can get better from our donation? I think that’s the key here, is hope,” said John. “This isn’t going to last forever, we will survive and we’ll go on.”

BioLife is currently looking for more patients who have made a full recovery from COVID-19 to donate plasma. Interested parties can contact their MedInfo center at 1-877-825-3327.