Celtics' Marcus Smart Will Donate Blood for Experimental COVID-19 Treatment After Recovering
Over the weekend, the Boston Celtics guard revealed that he'd been cleared of the coronavirus after testing positive earlier this month
At least four NBA players, including Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart, recovering from novel coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnoses will donate their blood to help develop an experimental treatment aiming to fight the virus.
On Tuesday, Dr. Michael Joyner of the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project told ABC News that the athletes’ antibodies could be used to help the sickest of patients find relief from the respiratory virus.
“We believe it can be disease-modifying and reduce duration and severity in some patients,” said Joyner.
Though all of the basketball stars participating in the effort haven’t been disclosed, Smart confirmed that he will be involved in the process.
According to a memo obtained by the outlet, NBA officials suggested to players who are on the mend from COVID-19 to take part in the medical trial. The league also donated $100,000 to the project.
“These are big men with blood volumes, and as a result have a lot of plasma volume,” Joyner said of the eligible basketball players. “Frequently, people who are physically trained also have an increase in their plasma volume from what you would expect from them just being regular-sized guys.”
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Over the weekend, Smart, 26, updated his fans, letting them know that he’d been cleared of COVID-19 by the Massachusetts Department of Health.
“Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and prayers and I’m doing the same for everyone that’s been [affected] by this. Stay safe and stay together- apart! Much love!” he wrote on Twitter.
“COVID-19 must be taken w the highest of seriousness. I know it’s a #1 priority for our nations health experts, & we must get more testing ASAP,” he wrote on Instagram at the time, sharing a video message with his followers.
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He added: “The younger generation in our country MUST self distance. This is not a joke. Not doing so is selfish. Together we can beat this, but we must beat it together by being apart for a short while.”
As of April 1, there have been 188,247 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and 3,921 deaths, according to The New York Times.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.