Ocean City, New Jersey COVID-19 patient wants to contribute to medical research

OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey is lining up behind New York as the number two state in the United States with the most coronavirus cases. And we are now starting to hear from people who got a positive test result and are now recovering.

Cindy Washko-Margraf, a retired nurse from Ocean City, New Jersey, says she has a good idea where she contracted COVID-19.

"I'm a big Villanova fan and I went up to go to the Big East Tournament," she said. "My two daughters live in New York City so I was staying with them."

She tells us, it wasn't long after she got home that she started feeling sick.

"Saturday evening (I) started developing a sore throat. Went to bed. On Sunday morning, woke up with fever, chills - typical flu-like symptoms, achiness, but no cough. And no shortness of breath," she said.

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Her symptoms continued to go downhill. When the call to a first doctor didn't go anywhere, she tried Telehealth through Jefferson Hospital. They told her to get tested.

"She suggested I go for a swab. I was swabbed on Tuesday. My results came back Friday that I was positive" she said.

Washko-Margraf is feeling better now but she's still under quarantine until this weekend.

Now she's thinking about ways her recovery could help others, like a study Johns Hopkins hopes to do, where they would use plasma from recovered patients to help those still suffering.

"I hope locally that I could - once I'm recovered or my quarantine is over - that I can go and donate blood and hopefully the antibodies that I've grown will be helpful to those who are a lot sicker," she said.

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The first successful reports on this technique, using "convalescent plasma" were in the early 1900s.

But it got wider attention during its use in the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa as a last resort to save some patients.

Successes there have led to several small studies.

In recent years, it was also used to treat people with Middle East respiratory syndrome, which is also caused by a coronavirus infection.
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