Microsoft blood bot helps recovered COVID-19 patients donate plasma

It believes ‘convalescent plasma’ could help fight the disease.

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Microsoft’s latest contribution to the fight against COVID-19 is Plasma Bot, a screening tool meant to help recovered COVID-19 patients donate their plasma to treatment efforts. The bot asks a series of questions, and if it determines you’re a potential donor, it will direct you to a licensed plasma collection center in your area.

In a blog post, Microsoft explains that it believes plasma from recovered patients (also known as convalescent plasma) may help fight the disease in two ways: it could be given via transfusions to current patients, and it could be used to develop other therapies. Microsoft is partnering with the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance to study plasma-based therapies, and its Plasma Bot is available through the CoVIg-19 website.

“We are now convinced that the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance has a real chance to save lives, at significant scale, and possibly much sooner than other approaches currently being developed,” Microsoft wrote.

Eventually, Microsoft hopes to make the bot available through other web, social and search channels. It will first recruit donors in the US, where the company says donating should be easy. It claims that 50 percent of the eligible donor population in the US lives within 15 minutes of one of the 500 centers operated by CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance member companies. Microsoft plans to expand its recruitment efforts to Europe, but it hasn’t said when that might happen.

Since the pandemic began, bots have been helping users check their symptoms and find accurate information. If donated plasma becomes a reliable way to treat COVID-19, we might see more bots of this nature, too.

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