Former COVID-19 patient donates plasma to help other patients fighting virus

Experimental treatment may help patients recover

SAN ANTONIO – The first person in San Antonio to donate plasma as part of an experimental COVID-19 treatment is speaking out about his experience.

David Herrmann, a former patient himself, says his symptoms were so mild that he only found out about his diagnosis after routine tests were taken during a check-up.

“For a day, lost my sense of smell, and I couldn’t taste things which were very odd,” Herrmann said.

Still, he knows how deadly the disease can be, which is why he is encouraging others to help if they can.

“I just felt like it was the right thing to do,” Herrmann said.

The 54-year old-father of two donated his plasma, which contains COVID-19 antibodies, to be transfused into sick patients.

He says the process was easy.

“And when they put that needle in, you don’t even feel it. I mean, that’s the only thing you feel. And then 50 minutes later, you’re done,” Herrmann said.

The experimental treatment already seems to be helping others. Yesterday, a woman told KSAT 12 News that her husband showed almost immediate and significant improvement after receiving an antibody-rich plasma transfusion.

Dr. Samantha Gomez-Ngamsuntikul, with the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, is hoping to find more donors.

“We’re still working on recruiting. Theres a lot of different requirements for that person to be able to donate plasma,” said Gomez-Ngamsuntikul. “The antibody peaks at 28 days following the onset of infection. And so once it peaks, it starts declining. And so we’re trying to pick those donors who are that peak.”

Herrmann has already given multiple donations and plans to continue donating as long as he can.

“They (the staff members) take good care of you. They talk to you. They make you feel comfortable. And they’re very good at their jobs,” Herrmann said.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is on I-10 near Vance Jackson, but staff there wants potential donors to to reach out to them for information about requirements, before showing up.

Those looking for information can email covid19@southtexasblood.orgYou can also call 210-731-2719 or visit southtexasblood.org.

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