Reason for plasma donation
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, an outbreak occurred at Shincheonji Church’s Daegu branch. This outbreak resulted in the infection of over 4,000 members and widespread media attention. It has been a long time since that initial outbreak, but only last month Korea experienced its second wave of outbreaks much greater than the first. In response to the Coronavirus outbreaks, Shincheonji members volunteered to donate plasma.
There has been a considerable amount of research that suggests the effectiveness of plasma for COVID-19 treatment. In tests, it has produced a modest increase in survival rates. Plasma has also been found to be effective in the treatment of children who have contracted the virus. Additionally, plasma of recovered COVID-19 victims contains antibodies, the same defense your own body would produce by receiving a vaccine.
Beginning of plasma donations
Shincheonji Church in Daegu began the second set of their plasma donations on August 26th, the same day President Donald Trump authorized plasma for COVID-19 treatment in the United States. They did this in collaboration with the Korean Center for Disease Control (KCDC).
This set was specifically requested by the KCDC, who noted that due to the resurgence of the Coronavirus there was a request for the rapid development of treatment using plasma. The KCDC released a letter:
“As the outbreak of COVID-19 at home and abroad is on the rise again, more rapid treatments are required through group plasma donation, so we would like to recruit plasma through your institution, so we ask for active cooperation.”
This second set of donations concluded on September 4th, at the height of Korea’s second large coronavirus outbreak. Of all confirmed cases amongst Shincheonji members, most have made a full recovery.
Conclusion of plasma donations
In July, 4,000 recovered Shincheonji church members pledged to donate plasma. About five hundred did so at that time. Shincheonji’s Chairman, Mr. Lee Man-Hee, gave a statement regarding the plasma donations:
“I am very thankful to the government, which took charge of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and providing treatment for it. This is not something our church could resolve. I know that you [Shincheonji members in Daegu] have gathered your hearts in our collective wish to free all the people of the world from the pains of this disease.”
Shincheonji Church is not the only organization that has been hit by an outbreak, but it is very keen on collaborating with the government for the COVID-19 response. Lee also added:
“This is the work that needs to be done as citizens of this country and as true believers. It is keeping the command of Jesus of loving your neighbour as yourself (Mt 22:39), and I am thankful that you have gathered your hearts for this good work and in making this decision that is like the light. Let us all pray in the name of Jesus to end COVID-19.”
The church desires to continue with its plasma donations and other forms of aid for Coronavirus relief both in South Korea and abroad.