Culture 2 min read

Microsoft to Launch Plasmabot for its Plasma Donation Drive

Fit Ztudio /

Fit Ztudio /

Microsoft is preparing to launch plasmabot, a chatbot that will aid in efforts to gather blood plasma donation.

With the growing number of deaths related to COVID-19, medical researchers around the world are trying all possible drugs and treatments to cure the disease. Early this month, scientists proposed using convalescent plasma therapy, a procedure that uses blood plasma from a COVID-19 survivor to treat other patients.

Many of the patients who reportedly went through the said treatment have recovered. Because of this, many hospitals are now urging coronavirus survivors to donate plasma.

To aid with the donation drive, tech giant Microsoft is launching plasmabot to recruit coronavirus survivors. In a blog post, Microsoft claimed that there are two possible methods to collect plasma:

  • make transfusions directly available to those who are battling the virus
  • incorporate the antibodies to help develop a medicine

Using Plasmabot to Recruit Volunteers

According to Peter Lee, Microsoft’s research head, their goal is to collect as much plasma as possible. The urgency is due to expert predictions that the United States has already hit or is close to hitting the peak number of cases in many cities.

Launching plasmabot is part of Microsoft’s efforts to support a plasma alliance formed by different life science companies in March. Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis and co-chair of the coalition, said:

“We feel a deep shared responsibility to see if there are specific areas where collaboration across the life sciences industry and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can accelerate solutions to this pandemic.”

Microsoft conducted its own research on plasma therapy and deemed that it has the potential to save lives. Now, the company has set aside resources to promote plasma therapy.

To date, convalescent plasma therapy is not an FDA-approved treatment for COVID-19. However, the agency categorized it as an investigational product.

While experts agree that plasma therapy is worth exploring, it has its own challenges. One of which is the problem with recruiting enough volunteers.

Vasudev Bailey, a biotech investor with Artis Ventures, noted:

“It’s not an antibody being made and scaled and mass-produced in a lab. The limitation here is that we need enough people to have recovered and enough of these antibodies (quantity) to use in ailing new patients.”

Read More: Google And Apple To Launch COVID-19 Contact Tracing Technology

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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