An American woman living in HCMC who recently recovered from Covid-19 has registered to donate plasma to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.
Her name is Kelly Michelle Koch, 50. She is one of 17 people to sign up for the donation for research approved recently by the Ministry of Health. She’s also the first foreigner in the country to do so.
On Wednesday, she went to the hospital and first had to undergo several screenings and tests to ensure her plasma is safe.
She felt she had the opportunity to help people, and she was very thankful for everything that the Vietnamese government and healthcare providers did for her, she shared.
She tried to reassure people about donating plasma, saying: “Another benefit is we get free medical tests. We have screenings for many different things.”
She had contracted Covid-19 in March during a trip to Thailand’s Phuket. She was treated at the Cu Chi Field Hospital in HCMC, and recovered by early April.
Earlier this month, the health ministry approved research into the use of plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients to treat the rising number of new cases in Vietnam.
Donors should be between 18 and 65 years old, weigh over 50 kg if male and over 45 kg if female.
They will be tested for hepatitis B, HIV, and syphilis.
Screenings and tests are also done to determine the levels of antibodies in donors’ blood. Women donors must not have had over three pregnancies since they might then not have sufficient antibody levels, said Vu Thi Thu Huong, head of the hospital’s diagnosis department.
The plasma is preserved for up to 12 months following donation.
Two people have been approved for the donation: a 29-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman, Huong said.
Koch’s offer is still awaiting approval.
Human plasma is currently used for Covid-19 treatment in some European countries, China, and South Korea.
883 Covid-19 cases have been reported in the country so far. 18 deaths are recorded.
Koch said she has no plans to return to the U.S. any time soon.
“This is my home now. It’s very safe here.
“I believe the government did a very good job of containing and minimizing the impacts on the citizens of Vietnam, so I feel very fortunate that I was in Vietnam at this time because now we can pretty much freely return to our work.”