Naples man recovered from coronavirus helps scientists take steps toward saving lives

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
Published: Updated:
Charles McDonald (Photo provided to WINK News)

One Naples man recovered from the coronavirus. Now, he’s hoping he can help someone else do the same by donating his plasma.

Scientists believe antibodies in our plasma can tell us who’s been exposed to COVID-19 and who has immunity from the virus.

Now, they just have to prove it.

Charles McDonald just might help them figure it out by letting the pros test his antibodies.

The Naples photographer is now in recovery mode.

“Today might be my first day cough-free,” he says.

He survived COVID-19.

“It set in. You know, fever of 103 a couple of times. You’re getting the chills, you’re getting the sweats. Brain fog was a big thing,” he said.

Now, he hopes to help others.

“My big thing is just turning lemons into lemonade and turning this into a positive,” he said.

McDonald went to My Test Diagnostics on Thursday to participate in antibody testing.

They take the vials of blood, they put it in this analyzer and it takes 10 minutes to read the test but 90 seconds in the technician is saying, ‘Holy moly you’ve got tons of antibodies they’re already showing up!’

What scientists need to find out fast is whether having the virus and recovering means never getting it again.

“We still have a lot to learn about what having antibodies means,” said Dr. Ania Wajnberg with Mount Sinai.

If researchers find it does mean patients have immunity, that opens the door to so many positive possibilities.

McDonald says he’s already in touch with NCH ready to do what it takes.

“I’ll donate plasma as often as they want, as much as they want. My body regenerates it and I’m just happy to be able to go,” he said.

The most important of those possibilities—saving lives. Scientists need to determine whether they can transfer immunity from a recovered patient to one still suffering through those antibodies in plasma.

Doctors in Orlando tried it on a man earlier this month and they’re convinced the injection saved his life.

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