COVID-19 recovered patients from a religious group in South Korea are keen to donate their plasma for research to help the country fight against the virus.
The Shincheonji Church of Jesus was marked as a large outbreak site outside of China this February and March. According to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), about 5,213 of the country’s total 12,484 cases were linked to this church.
Plasma is needed for coronavirus research therefore the church founder, Lee Man Hee, had discussed with recovered members to donate their plasma. This has resulted in at least 4,000 recovered COVID-19 patients willing to.
Shincheonji Media Coordinator Kim Young Eun said, “many of recovered church members wanted to donate to express their gratitude to the government and medical staff.”
South Korea health officials have said plasma therapy may help to reduce the country’s death rate, especially for critical patients, as long as vaccines and other treatments are unavailable. The plasma from recovered patients and antibodies to the virus enables the body to fight the disease. So far 17 South Koreans have undergone this experimental therapy as reported by Reuters on 23 June.
Meanwhile, Daegu has filed a civil lawsuit against the church seeking 100 billion won ($82.75 million) in damages due to being the centre area of the church infections. Prior to this, Daegu authorities filed a complaint against the church accusing it of not submitting a full list of members and facilities, and not complying with health protocols though the church claimed to fully comply with government efforts.