July 3, 2020 / 2:07 PM / a month ago

Recovered COVID-19 patients donate plasma for treatment in Argentina

A health care worker weighs a bag filled with convalescent plasma donated from Daiana Woloszczuk, 34, who has recovered from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Hemotherapy Institute in La Plata, Argentina June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - People who recovered from coronavirus infections in Argentina have volunteered to donate plasma as part of a national clinical trial to test its effectiveness as a treatment for patients who are still sick with COVID-19.

Recovered people came to centers across the country to donate, even as winter settles on the South American nation, bringing cold temperatures and rainy weather.

“It doesn’t cost a thing and you know you can do good, that’s what’s important in all of this,” Daiana Woloszczuk, 34, said while donating plasma in the city of La Plata. “If I can help someone else have a little bit better of a time, I welcome it.”

In order to donate, a person has to be well for at least 14 days and test negative twice for coronavirus.

The treatment proved crucial for patients like Barbara Piccardi, a 31-year-old administrative employee, who was hospitalized for a month with respiratory complications due to coronavirus. When she struggled to breathe on her own, her doctors opted for plasma treatment and she recovered.

“Thanks to (the donor) and her blood, I am alive here at home today,” Piccardi said.

Argentina has about 67,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 1,300 associated deaths, according to government data. At least 23,000 people have recovered.

Reporting by Miguel Lo Bianco; writing by Cassandra Garrison, editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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