Vancouver Is Awesome
He was COVID-19 case number 231, but now Ladner’s Jerry Glubisz will be the first person from the Vancouver area to help possibly determine if COVID-19 convalescent plasma can be an effective treatment for the coronavirus.
Diagnosed with COVID-19 in March and now fully recovered, Glubisz was in Vancouver Wednesday to give plasma at Canadian Blood Services for the clinical trial CONCOR, which is looking at the use of convalescent plasma in treating the virus.
Glubisz told the Optimist he has been a regular blood donor for years with 65 donations so far.
“I couldn’t give blood in my normal cycle in April because I was sick,” he said. “My sister saw an article about this national clinical trial and sent it to me and asked whether I knew that UBC had this research group with COVID-19, so I reached out to them and I went in and they took a few vials of blood. Once that was done, Canadian Blood Services reached out and said I was a candidate. They also saw the article that you guys wrote in the Optimist, so they had me on their radar.”
When someone contracts a virus, their body develops antibodies that remain in their plasma to shield them from possible future infection. In theory, these antibodies could be the key ingredient to treat others with the same virus.
The CONCOR study includes both Canadian Blood Services and its Quebec equivalent, Héma-Québec, as well as 10 research teams and more than 50 hospitals across the country.
“We have the expertise and the infrastructure necessary to collect and prepare convalescent plasma for use in a clinical trial to test its safety and effectiveness as a treatment option,” said Dr. Dana Devine, chief scientist for Canadian Blood Services. “Plasma will only be collected from volunteer donors who have fully recovered from the virus and will be used by Canadian physicians caring for patients with COVID-19 in the context of the clinical trial.”
Glubisz said he’s happy to do his part.
“It’s a great thing. Hopefully this will work and they will get what they need. I’m just trying to do what I can to help. If I can and if they need me to go back in and give more, I will. It’s easy for me to do this.”
A national clinical trial of this size and scope will require several months to complete.
In the meantime, Canadians are urged to donate blood in the next few weeks to help maintain an adequate supply.
To book an appointment visit blood.ca, download the GiveBlood app or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).