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RABBI’S SON WAS FIRST TO GIVE PLASMA FOR COVID-19 PATIENTS

June 3, 2020

DAYTON, Ohio - Manachem Mendel Mangel, the 21-year-old son of an Oakwood rabbi, wore a yamulke and a face mask when he arrived at Community Blood Center on the evening of April 6.  The world was in the grip of a pandemic and he was the first person known to have tested positive for COVID-19 to be openly welcomed into CBC's Donor Room.

CBC was hurrying to launch an investigational program to collect COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) for the treatment of local COVID-19 patients. Past pandemics had shown that antibody-rich plasma from coronavirus survivors could help infected patients survive.

Menachem, who goes by Mendel with his friends, settled into a donor bed and became the first former COVID-19 patient in Ohio to donate CCP.   His plasma went immediately to Miami Valley Hospital where it was transfused to a critically ill patient.

On May 28, nearly eight weeks after his first donation, Mendel was again at CBC, returning for his fourth CCP donation. "Obviously it was more dramatic the first time," he said. "As long as they still needed me and I'm available, I'll come. Although this will probably be the last time."

Mangel is going back to his marketing job in New York after spending much of the past three months in Oakwood.  He is the son of Rabbi Nochum Mangel of the Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Dayton synagogue. He was visiting for Passover when he showed symptoms of COVID-19. He tested positive on March 18.

Rabbi Mangel learned about CCP donations from Wright Patterson Medical Center physician Maj. Evan Fisher who is a member of the synagogue.

Maj. Fisher and fellow Wright-Patt physician Maj. Matthew Koroscil had launched their own independent research on convalescent plasma used in prior viral infections. They talked about collecting CCP at Wright-Patt, but instead reached out to Dr. Roberto Colón at Premier Health and Dr. James Alexander at Community Blood Center for help building a fledgling CCP program.

Maj. Fisher said the remaining challenge was finding a donor. It had to be someone confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 and was now cured.

"I think I have one living in my basement," Rabbi Mangel said about his son, who was quarantined from the family.

"Dr. Fisher was talking to my father about the program and that's how I got involved," said Mendel.

On April 6 Mendel tested negative for COVID-19 at Miami Valley Hospital, indicating he could no longer infect others. He then went directly to CBC to donate his plasma.  Maj. Fisher and Dr. Alexander were there to support him as he donated. His CCP was processed into three doses and sent to Miami Valley Hospital.

His blood type is AB-negative, which is ideal for CCP. He continued to donate at CBC during his extended time in Oakwood.  He spent two weeks in New York, then returned to Oakwood in late May for the Jewish holiday Shavout.

"I left before it really kicked in and the city shut down," he said. "Going back now, it's where more people have been exposed to it and don't have it. They're in a much later stage of this than Ohio."

He may be in his final stage as an active CCP donor. He considers himself "on call" when needed and will always be part of a special club.

"It's very nice," he said about the growth of the CCP program since that dramatic first donation. "It's great for people to give back. I'm glad to do my part."

 

By the end of May, the Community Blood Center COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma program had totaled 57 donors, most of them repeat donors, with 183 units prepared for shipping to hospitals and other blood centers.

To be eligible to give CCP donors must have a diagnosis of COVID-19 through RNA testing - NOT by an antibody test.  Potential donors can review the CCP eligibility criteria and doctors can complete and submit the form to qualify donors at www.GivingBlood.org.