07:46 GMT22 October 2020
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    Brigham Young University-Idaho, a private university in Rexburg, Idaho, recently warned students against intentionally trying to contract COVID-19 in order to make money by donating antibody-rich plasma.

    In an October 12 statement, the university said that it is “deeply troubled” by reports that some individuals have “intentionally exposed themselves or others to COVID-19, with the hope of getting the disease and being paid for plasma that contains COVID-19 antibodies.”

    “The university condemns this behavior and is actively seeking evidence of any such conduct among our student body. Students who are determined to have intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus will be immediately suspended from the university and may be permanently dismissed,” the statement added.

    The university also noted in its statement that it may be forced to transition to a “fully-remote instruction model” if the number of COVID-19 cases on campus and in the surrounding area continues to increase.

    Convalescent plasma is a treatment technique that uses plasma donated from survivors of the novel coronavirus to treat patients currently suffering from the respiratory disease. Doctors can isolate antibodies in plasma - the liquid component of blood - and then inject those antibodies into sick patients.

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for convalescent plasma as a COVID-19 treatment on August 23, saying in a release that the technique may be effective in “lessening the severity of shortening the length of COVID-19 illness in some hospitalized patients.” 

    “The agency also determined that the known and potential benefits of the product, when used to treat COVID-19, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product and that that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternative treatments,” the release noted.

    On September 2, the FDA released additional guidance outlining recommendations to health care advisors on the use of convalescent plasma to help treat COVID-19.

    In August, US President Donald Trump falsely stated that convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 was “proven to reduce mortality by 35%,” Stat News reported at the time. However, according to FactCheck.org, there’s no evidence that the method is that effective.

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