OSU doctors use plasma transfusion from recovered COVID-19 patients as recovery treatment for virus

Posted at 11:28 AM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 11:28:57-04

COLUMBUS — A team of doctors and researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center transfused the first patient with plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient as part of a nationwide effort to see if this could be another way to treat someone who is ill from the novel coronavirus.

Doctors said people who have recovered from COVID-19 often have antibodies, which are the proteins in the blood that could attack the virus. So putting this plasma, also known as convalescent plasma, from a recovered patient to one with the virus could help that patient attack the virus.

Researchers are also studying the donated plasma to learn which antibodies perform best as a possible treatment. The OSU medical center has joined other health centers and government and industry leaders to coordinate expanded access to convalescent plasma.

“This ‘compassionate use’ therapy shows promise to lessen the severity or shorten the length of COVID-19. Our new program involves a routine blood donation process to collect the plasma that will be given to critically-ill COVID-19 patients to fight this infection,” said Dr. Scott Scrape, a pathologist and director of Transfusion Medicine at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, in a news release. “While this is a new treatment for COVID-19, throughout history, medical professionals have used antibodies from the blood of recovered patients as a treatment for infections when vaccines or other medications weren’t yet available.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 through a new emergency investigational drug application process with academic institutions to evaluate its safety and efficacy.

Each blood donation can treat up to two people. The OSU medical center partnered with Milwaukee-based Versiti Inc. to collect blood from recovered COVID-19 patients.

“When we notified people about their positive COVID-19 test results, many patients asked us what they could do to help others once they were fully recovered. This is how they can help, by donating their blood to aid the critically ill,” Scrape said.

The convalescent plasma must be collected from donors who meet all regular blood donor eligibility criteria:

  • Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test.
  • Complete resolution of symptoms at least 28 days prior to donation.
  • Negative for HLA antibodies. Some women who’ve been pregnant, and males or females who’ve had a blood transfusion will test positive for HLA antibodies.

If you are a recovered patient of COVID-19 and want to donate, click here.

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