LOS ANGELES, July 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A South Korean-based religious group, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, said that over 4,000 congregants who have fully recovered from COVID-19 will donate their plasma for the development of a treatment.
Their plasma donations are valued at a total of $83 billion due to the scarcity of donors and competitive demands by organizations who are in the global race to find a treatment.
"It is difficult to accelerate the development of a treatment for COVID-19 with only 200 recovered patients who expressed their will to donate blood. The massive donation from the recovered patients in the Shincheonji Church will solve the problem of the lack of blood for research," said an official from Green Cross Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company.
In the first quarter, an outbreak of the virus came upon a Daegu church in South Korea after the controversy surrounding mass tourist visitations from China.
"The most fearful thing was the perception of those who are infected by society and the discrimination and hate by treating us as sinners despite being victims," Hyang-ki Lee, female donor and congregant of Shincheonji Church said.
Despite this, Mr. Man Hee Lee, founder of the Shincheonji Church, encouraged members to voluntarily donate their plasma stating, "As Jesus sacrificed himself with his blood for life, we hope that the blood of people can bring positive effects on overcoming the current situation."
A few municipalities in South Korea had recently brought lawsuits against the church stating that it did not cooperate with authorities by submitting incomplete lists of church facilities and members.
"No evidence has been found that Shincheonji supplied missing or altered lists. And there were only minor differences," said Kim Kang-lip, Vice-Minister of Health. According to an academic review "Shincheonji and Coronavirus: Sorting Fact from Fiction - A White Paper," published on EU Political Report, the church "provided the list of its South Korean members six days after it was requested." When the government asked for real estate lists, the report states, "it was initially unclear whether shut down facilities and properties should be included."
A Shincheonji media coordinator said the church will cooperate fully with government agencies.
South Korea reported 12,967 confirmed cases and 282 deaths from COVID-19.
SOURCE Shincheonji Church of Jesus