WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Students at an Idaho university are allegedly “intentionally” trying to get infected with COVID-19 to make money donating their plasma.
- Officials say an investigation is ongoing to find evidence of the alleged behavior.
- Plasma from COVID-19 survivors contains antibodies that are used as an emergency therapy for those with the coronavirus.
On Monday, accounts of students “intentionally” trying to contract COVID-19 so they could make money by donating plasma with antibodies surfaced in Brigham Young University-Idaho.
In a statement, the Idaho university said officials were “deeply troubled” by the alleged student behavior. They also said an active investigation to find evidence of such behavior among the student body is being conducted.
Students found to have “intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus” face the consequence of immediate suspension and even permanent dismissal from the university. The statement continued on to say that “reckless disregard for health and safety” with the contraction and spread of the virus will “inevitably lead” to more disease and death in the community.
The university also warned last month that if the cases in Idaho or Madison County continue to surge, they may have to opt for fully-online learning.
The release also urged students participating in the alleged behavior to instead consult financial and mental health resources saying that endangering health and safety is not needed to “make ends meet.”
According to a report from NPR, there are two locations for possible plasma donation near the university. Grifols Biomat USA Rexburg’s website says donors receive $100 per visit. East Idaho News reported that the second location, BioLife Plasma Services gives $200 for the donor’s first two visits.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permitted the use of COVID-19 survivors’ convalescent plasmas as an emergency therapy for those infected with the disease.
The plasma has antibodies that “may be effective in treating COVID-19” and “the known potential benefits outweigh the known potential risks”, according to the FDA.
Source: The Hill