Egypt's Al-Azhar (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The International Electronic Fatwa Centre of Egypt's Al-Azhar, the country's top institution of Sunni Islamic learning, has said that it is not religiously permissible for people who have recovered from coronavirus to sell their antibody-rich blood plasma to others who are still infected.
Egypt's health ministry said last week that convalescent plasma has proven effective in treating severely ill coronavirus patients.
"Selling the blood plasma of a recovered person, taking advantage of the pandemic, is impermissible. The human body, including the flesh and blood, belongs to God, not to the servant, and no one has the right to sell what he does not possess," the centre said in a statement published on its official Facebook page late on Sunday.
The fatwa urged recuperated people to donate plasma to patients to alleviate their suffering.
Health Minister Hala Zayed said last week that recent plasma trials have shown promising results in increasing the recovery rate of critically ill patients and lessening the need for ventilators.
She called on those who have recovered from the highly-contagious virus to head to the nearest ministry-affiliated blood transfusion centre to donate plasma, but to do so only after 14 days have passed since the date of their recovery.
The country introduced the plasma treatment trials for the first time on 30 April, just days after the US Food and Drug Administration said convalescent plasma had the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19.
Plasma extracted from one recovered patient could be infused into two seriously ill patients, the health ministry spokesman has said.
Egypt has so far registered 31,115 coronavirus cases, 8,961 recoveries, and 1,237 deaths.