ROME: Andrea Bocelli, the famous Italian opera tenor, has donated blood plasma to help fight the coronavirus after revealing that he fell ill with the disease in early March.
The singer told the Italian news agency ANSA that he discovered he was infected with the coronavirus on March 10 when he had a swab after developing a fever and other symptoms of the disease. He later passed on the infection to his wife and two children.
Bocelli, one of the world’s biggest-selling classical music performers, donated blood at the Cisanello Hospital in Pisa, close to the Tuscan mansion where he lives with his family. The blood plasma will be used in research to develop treatments for the viral infection.
The singer said later that his symptoms had been mild and he had practically been asymptomatic. His family had recovered and his wife had also donated plasma for research.
During Italy’s lengthy lockdown Bocelli joined other artists in musical marathons worldwide to raise funds for those most severely hit by the pandemic and for research into a vaccine.
Together with Italian singer Zucchero, he joined the global cast of “One World Together at Home,” a benefit concert featuring Elton John and Lady Gaga that raised $128 million for coronavirus research and relief.
The blind tenor’s own charity, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, also launched special fundraising events to help hospitals buy protective equipment for medical staff.
On Easter Sunday, at the peak of the national lockdown, the Italian star live streamed a solo recital, “Andrea Bocelli: Music for Hope,” from Milan’s deserted main cathedral.
The performance was seen by 2.8 million viewers — a record for a classical music live stream.
Bocelli said that he wanted “to give hope to the world through music in such a hard and sad moment for humanity.”
After leaving the Pisa hospital with his wife, the singer said: “I hope my plasma will help to find a treatment for this deadly virus.”
Doctors in northern Italy are hoping an experimental “super-plasma” therapy will deliver a breakthrough for coronavirus patients.
Several patients have benefited from the treatment, which involves a transfusion of blood plasma from those who have recovered from the virus and developed protective antibodies against the deadly infection.