Showing: 1 - 2 of 2 RESULTS

University warns about college students trying to contract COVID-19 to make money donating plasma with antibodies

Brigham Young University-Idaho warned on Monday about accounts of college students “intentionally” trying to contract COVID-19 in order to make money by donating plasma with antibodies. 

The Idaho university issued a statement saying officials were “deeply troubled” by the alleged behavior and “is actively seeking evidence of 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 university stated.

“The contraction and spread of COVID-19 is not a light matter,” the statement continued. “Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community.”

University officials noted that they had previously cautioned last month that if Idaho or Madison County continue to experience surges in cases, the university may have to switch to fully online learning. 

The release also encouraged students who are participating in this behavior to consult financial and mental health resources, saying, “There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet.”

Brigham Young University-Idaho has confirmed 109 COVID-19 cases among students and 22 cases among employees.

The Food and Drug Administration permitted convalescent plasmas from COVID-19 survivors to be used as an emergency therapy for those with coronavirus. The FDA states that the plasma that has antibodies “may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks.”

Two potential plasma donation locations near the university are the Grifols Biomat USA Rexburg location and the BioLife Plasma Services, NPR reported. The first’s website says it gives donors $100 per visit and East Idaho News reported the latter provides $200 for each of the donor’s first two visits.

Source Article

Dr. Deborah Birx warns about COVID spread in small gatherings; praises aggressive college testing as model

The frequent, recurrent testing on college campuses should serve as a model for communities at large, she said, so they can detect cases as quickly as the schools.

“It gives me really great hope to see how the college students have modified their behavior because they know what it takes to be safe,” she said. “And they have been able to mostly keep themselves safe with very low test positivity rates.”

Birx commended the Broad Institute for its key role in testing in the Northeast. Soon after the crisis began in March, the lab converted its laboratory into a high-throughput COVID-19 test processing center.

This spring, the institute signed contracts with 108 public and private colleges in the region to provide testing for students, faculty, and staff. Among the 1.7 million tests conducted for the colleges and universities so far, the positivity rate is 0.1 percent, or approximately 1 in 1,000, according to the Broad. The most recent seven-day average positivity rate for the state is 1.0 percent, according to the Department of Public Health.

The Broad collects samples from the schools and processes the tests for $25 per test, a discounted rate set for the schools compared to the $35 to $50 the institute regularly charges.

Birx was scheduled to meet with Governor Charlie Baker after visiting the Broad Institute.
Birx was scheduled to meet with Governor Charlie Baker after visiting the Broad Institute.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“This is really the best part of our COVID response is when you see hospitals transcend their competitive status, when you see universities transcend their normal competition to work together putting the students and the safety of the students first,” she said.

Birx also toured the testing facility that Boston University has set up on its campus. That institution tests many students twice a week. She was also expected to meet with Governor Charlie Baker later on Friday.

About the Thanksgiving and winter holidays, Birx said she hopes that if college students return to their communities they will have low positivity rates and bring home with them good public health strategies that they learned at college.

If and when students return to campuses after the winter holidays, she said schools should aggressively test and quarantine them as they did when students began school in the fall.

Public spaces and stores and restaurants in the Northeast have largely become safe because of vigilant mask wearing and social distancing, but the problem now is at home, she said.

“People are yearning to be together and believe that if I know you or you are my family member you couldn’t have asymptomatic COVID. And we now learn that you could,” she said.

Birx, a strong supporter of wearing masks, distanced herself from President Trump, who even after testing positive for COVID-19, has been seen at the White House without a mask and plans to resume campaign travel this weekend.

“You’ve heard very clearly my position on masks and not only is it my position on masks, I wear a mask,” she said.

As fall turns to winter, she said,