Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Marcus Smart to donate his blood plasma to national COVID-19 research

Marcus Smart, who on Sunday night announced he is clear of COVID-19 after testing positive two weeks prior, plans to donate his blood plasma so it can be studied in hopes of finding treatment for the coronavirus.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Smart will donate to the the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project to aid in research of the virus that has shut down most of the globe over the past few weeks.

ESPN reported that Michael Joyner, an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic, told ABC News that at least four NBA players who have recovered from the coronavirus plan to donate blood for the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which is an experimental treatment that could help sick patients recover from the virus.

While three of the four players did not reveal their identities, Smart confirmed through his agent that he was one of the four to opt in.

The NBA league offices contacted team physicians over the weekend, following the report that Jazz All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were clear of the coronavirus, encouraging players that have recovered from COVID-19 to participate by donating their blood to research.

Joyner believes the experimental treatment "can be disease-modifying and reduce duration and severity in some patients." The research uses antibodies in blood from recovered patients to potentially contain the virus in patients that are infected.

Joyner also says that professional athletes can be very valuable plasma donors during this current pandemic that is slowly being somewhat controlled.
"These are big men with blood volumes, and as a result [they] have a lot of plasma volume," Joyner explained. "Frequently people who are physically trained also have an increase in their plasma volume from what you would expect from them just being regular-sized guys." [ESPN] 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Boston Globe

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