x

13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

COVID-19 patients urged to donate blood to help researchers find a cure

Researchers around the world are racing to find a cure for COVID-19. To do so, they need help from those now ill from the virus or in recovery.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Researchers around the world are racing to find a cure for COVID-19. To do so, they need help from those now ill from the virus or in recovery.

"In the case of COVID-19, we've been fielding hundreds of requests from researchers asking for COVID-19 positive samples," said Lori Ball.

Ball is the chief operating officer of Biological Specialty Company. It collects donor blood and other specimens for those in the research arena and right now many are focused on stopping COVID-19.

"We will to go any zip code, anywhere in the country to collect these samples," Ball said.

And now, instead of having donors go to a "collection center," such as doctor's office, BSC now has mobile donation units. That means the blood draw can be done at the donor's home (in this case, outside the home - in a garage, on the porch, or in the backyard.) Ball said that makes the process easier and faster. And she said getting as many samples as possible from COVID-19 patients is critical for quicker and better diagnostics - figuring out who has the disease and understanding the antibodies - why some people are able to successfully fight the virus. She said it's also about developing a vaccine.

Ball said donors, who must be at least 18 years old, will remain anonymous and receive some compensation for their time, but added money is not a key motivator.

"This is the result of many inquiries from COVID-19 patients saying, 'I want to help, surely my sample can contribute to research,'" Ball said. "So this is our attempt to match those willing recipients with the research community that is in the race for a cure and certainly a treatment."