Shincheonji members of South Korea donate blood plasma

By Arkan Wa
Members of Shincheonji Daegu Church in South Korea completing registration formalities before donating their blood plasma

In South Korea, Shincheonji church members step up to donate blood plasma for Covid-19 research and treatment

As the rate of infections is getting higher each day, Victoria is bracing itself for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. From Chloroquine to the just been approved drug, Remdesivir, the race of creating a vaccine or a cure for Covid-19 is becoming more vital than ever.

Research on using blood plasma therapy is also thought to be effective for treating those who have tested positive for Covid-19. Blood plasma therapy involves using blood plasma from those who have recovered from the virus and infusing them into patients who are currently very ill. The antibodies from the blood plasma of those who have recovered can help those who are critically ill. A high number of qualified applicants are needed to accelerate the research for this treatment. Though this research is still preliminary, there are high hopes of treating COVID-19 though blood plasma therapy.

In South Korea, members of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a Christian denomination, who have fully recovered are willingly donating blood plasma to be used for research purposes and clinical trials in hopes to speed the development of a vaccine. The Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has since installed three donation blood cars in Daegu, South Korea, to be used from 13 July to 18 July to extract blood plasma from the 500 participants.

Earlier in July, Chairman Lee Man-hee of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (hereinafter referred to as Shincheonji), said: “I am thankful to the South Korean government, which took charge in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and providing treatment for it. This is not something our church could resolve.”

He also added a message to thank the Shincheonji members in Daegu, who decided to donate their plasma needed in developing this Covid-19 vaccine. Some argued that Shincheonji’s contribution is to distract from tax evasion charges and the allegation that the church provided false information of its members to the authorities. Representatives from the Shincheonji Daegu church said that they only hoped people would look at it from the perspective of the believers. “There is no other meaning, such as changing the image. Even a small amount of payment to help towards transportation for the plasma donors is not accepted by them,” said a representative.

“We will face examinations by the prosecution and the tax agency,” a church official said. “We just want to support the development of a vaccine.”

The writer is editor of The Weekly Courier

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