Tech’s bigwigs team up to coordinate plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors

Microsoft, Uber, the Gates Foundation, and others want to make it easier to gather survivors’ plasma -- and disease-fighting antibodies.

May 27, 2020

Don’t tell Congress, but not everyone has an issue with working together.

A coalition of medical and research institutions, pharma companies, blood banks, and tech giants like Microsoft have joined forces to collect plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors. Their precious plasma contains antibodies that have been shown to fight off the disease.

Teamwork makes the dream work 

The coalition, called “The Fight Is In Us,” recently launched a website to screen potential plasma donors and direct them to their nearest donation center.

With plasma in such high demand, the group is trying to pool its resources instead of feuding over the lifesaving supply. The Red Cross, which did not sign on to the effort, has collected plasma from 4k recovered patients through a website of its own.

There are currently 2 different approaches to using plasma to fight COVID-19. The first is giving direct transfusions to critically ill patients.

  • Nearly 15k people have received direct transfusions so far, under an emergency program administered by the Mayo Clinic and the FDA.
  • The 2nd is more experimental – using the plasma in clinical trials to determine what antibodies are most effective.

The gang’s all here

Microsoft is providing tech support for the new website, while the Gates Foundation is advising the effort. Even Uber is getting in on the action, pledging 25k free rides to donation centers.

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