Members of a congregation in New Rochelle, N.Y., began donating blood on Tuesday in an effort to help researchers who are creating a way to treat COVID-19.

The first several cases of coronavirus infection to hit the state of New York originated at Young Israel of New Rochelle after a 50-year-old synagogue member and New Rochelle resident tested positive for COVID-19 on March 3, reported The Journal News.

More than 1,000 congregants began quarantining in early March, and about 100 synagogue members wound up contracting the virus. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo set up a one-mile containment zone around the synagogue on March 12 for two weeks.

A truck was parked outside the synagogue on Tuesday for blood donations so researchers can determine if synagogue members have enough antibodies to fight off COVID-19, explained The Journal News. If so, they can then donate plasma several days later that would be transferred to at-risk citizens or coronavirus patients until a vaccine and new treatments are developed.

The antibody levels will be studied by medical professionals from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center.

Dr. Liise-Anne Pirofski, chief of Montefiore’s Department of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases, is leading the research. She told The Journal News that Young Israel members reached out to the hospital to donate blood.

“To see people who have recovered,” she said, “and recovered with such vigor and spirit, their willingness to help is amazing.”

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