Rabbi Daniel Nevins at the New York Blood Center. (Courtesy of Rabbi Nevins)

Rabbi Daniel Nevins, once of Adat Shalom, hopes to help those affected by the coronavirus.

After recovering from COVID-19 last month, Rabbi Daniel Nevins, the former Adat Shalom Synagogue rabbi, is partaking in a blood plasma experimental treatment trial at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. 

Nevins lived in Farmington Hills for 13 years and was the rabbi at Adat Shalom from 1994-2007. He is now living in Manhattan, where he is the dean of the rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. 

On March 12, Nevins was tested for COVID-19 and received his results back on March 19 — he tested positive.  

“Fortunately, my symptoms were not very dreadful. I had a little fever, was feeling very tired and I had a lot of headache and muscle ache in general,” Nevins told the Jewish News. “I was fortunate enough to just stay at home and allow myself to heal.” 

After his recovery, Nevins heard about a COVID-19 experimental treatment from his daughter’s friend, who is a medical student at Mount Sinai Hospital. He went the following day to take a test to confirm that he no longer had COVID-19 and that he had antibodies present. By March 27, Nevins was sitting in the New York Blood Center donating blood plasma. 

“I am a frequent blood donor, but this is a completely different process,” Nevins said. “Normally when you donate blood it just comes out of your vein pretty quickly, but here, since they are taking your plasma, they use an apheresis machine which takes out part of the blood and then returns the platelets together with some saline so you don’t get so drained… literally.” 

On March 24, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that doctors could treat critically ill COVID-19 patients with plasma from recovered patients on an experimental basis. Doctors who are interested in participating in these experimental trials must seek approval from the FDA first.  

Plasma has been shown effective in treating other infectious diseases, like polio, measles and influenza. Patients must meet certain criteria and provide informed consent to be eligible for COVID-19 experimental treatment trials. 

“Normally I wouldn’t be telling the world about my health situation, but in this case it was worth it because a lot more people heard about this program and were able to come in and donate,” Nevins said. “This seemed to be one of the few things, until there is a vaccine available, that might actually help people recover. I was fortunate enough to be in a position where I could donate to this treatment trial.” 

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