By Associated Press - Wednesday, October 14, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Authorities at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus are investigating reports that students are purposefully exposing themselves to the coronavirus in hopes of selling their plasma after they recover.

University officials said in a statement that anyone confirmed to have done so will be suspended and possibly dismissed, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Several local plasma centers have offered to pay extra for donations from those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have the antibodies. One center, Biomat USA, offers $100 for recovered COVID patients compared to $25 for plasma for people who have never had it.

It’s in demand because it’s used to help treat seriously ill patients.

The payments are meant to compensate people for their time, a spokeswoman for Biomat USA said. Her company strongly discourages students from trying to get the virus.

“It’s ludicrous,” Vlasta Hakes, a spokeswoman for Biomat’s parent company Grifols.

BYU-Idaho now has more than 130 active coronavirus cases among students and staff, up from 75 last week. The county where it’s located is considered high risk.

University administrators also offered help to students if they are struggling to afford tuition, rent or groceries.

“There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet,” the statement read.

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