Old message of blood donation drive revived as ‘plasma donation’ in the wake of COVID-19

A list of 64 first names along with individual blood groups and contact numbers has gone viral on WhatsApp. As per the text, the people listed are “ready to make plasma donation” and “you may please add more in the list if you think you can and are willing to help.” The message is circulating in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak where blood plasma therapy is under trial as a possible treatment. The procedure aims at using antibodies from the blood of a recovered COVID-19 patient to treat those suffering from the viral infection.

“From a group of people ready to make plasma donation: We are ready to help  For blood donate pls share to u r friends,collegus,relation etc (followed by 64 names and numbers — as shows in the screenshots) share this to as many groups as possible it may help a broken heart. You may please add more in the list if you think you can and are willing to help someone who is going through a Harrowing experience. Let’s come together to help each other,” reads the complete message, screenshots of which are posted below with the phone numbers blurred.

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Fact-check

Alt News performed a keyword search on Google using the first mobile number and found that the same list was published on a blog in 2017 and on a Facebook page BLOOD DONOR S in 2016. As per the 2016 post, the people on the list are from Andhra Pradesh or Telangana.

Unlike the posts, the viral text includes a false and misleading sentence, “From a group of people ready to make plasma donation.”

The following text was also shared by Facebook page Hyderabad Blood Donors in 2017. The accompanying Telugu text said, “Anyone who wants blood in an emergency should contact the aforementioned numbers” (translated from అత్యవసర పరిస్థితుల్లో రక్తం కావలసిన వారు పైన పేర్కొన్న వారిని సంప్రదించండి). We also found a 2015 post on the Facebook page The New Face of Society which includes phone numbers from the viral message.

Alt News tried to connect with several donors on the list. Most of the numbers were not functioning. However, we managed to connect with one person (identity concealed at request) who confirmed that the viral message is four years old and related to a blood donation drive.

Social media claims suggesting that the people on the list are donating their blood plasma is yet another piece of misinformation floating in the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak.

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