A nurse in protective clothing takes notes from a woman with symptoms of new coronavirus at a carpark that turned into a COVID-19 infection screening center at Chulalongkorn University's Health Service Center on April 1, 2020. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP
A nurse in protective clothing takes notes from a woman with symptoms of new coronavirus at a carpark that turned into a COVID-19 infection screening center at Chulalongkorn University's Health Service Center on April 1, 2020. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP

BANGKOK — Boxing fans who recovered from the coronavirus said Tuesday they are preparing to donate their blood plasma to help others with their recovery efforts and assist the ongoing quest to find a cure for the pandemic.

Pinit Polkhan, a ring announcer who hosted the boxing match blamed for one of the largest clusters of COVID-19 infections in Thailand, said he and a group of 30 boxing fans will donate their blood plasma after researchers found that it could be a potential way to treat the infection.

“After we heard the news from the Thai Red Cross Society, those who have recovered agreed to come forward to donate their blood,” Pinit said during an interview with PPTV36.

He also saw it as an opportunity to contribute to society after the Muay Thai industry faced criticism for proceeding the match at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on March 6, resulting in at least 238 cases of infection related to the arena.

“Many people blamed the Muay Thai industry as a super-spreader,” Pinit said. “Although it’s not totally true, we have to face it. As we have recovered from the virus, we want to contribute something positively to society.”

As of Tuesday, 38 more cases of confirmed infection were reported in Thailand, bringing the total tally to 2,258. Health officials said 824 patients have recovered and they are urged to step forward to make blood donations.

The Thai Red Cross Society said it is taking blood plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients. Dootchai Chaiwanichsiri, director of the National Blood Center, said Sunday volunteers need to wait for 14 days after they have been discharged from hospital before making donations.

The plasma – a clear, yellowish liquid derived from blood – contains antibodies that may help fight the coronavirus, according to Chulalongkorn University’s virology expert Yong Poovorawan.

“Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients will be beneficial in curing patients who are suffering from severe conditions since it’s like a serum to cure the disease,” the professor said. “It can inhibit the virus from attacking lung cells and preventing patients from suffering pneumonitis.”

Many countries have begun clinical trials of using plasma to treat coronavirus patients including Canada, China, Singapore, South Korea and the United States, as researchers around the world race to develop vaccines and medications to treat the infection.

Pinit Polkhan, right, stands next to actor Matthew Deane Chanthavanij, who is also diagnosed with the coronavirus, left, during a boxing match at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on March 6. Photo: matthew.deane1 / Instagram
Pinit Polkhan, right, stands next to actor Matthew Deane Chanthavanij, who is also diagnosed with the coronavirus, left, during a boxing match at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on March 6. Photo: matthew.deane1 / Instagram