The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is studying if plasma from recovering coronavirus patients can help others. The first transfusion was completed Monday.
When someone gets COVID-19, their body produces antibodies to help them recover, which are carried in their plasma.
The Wexner Medical Center's study looks at whether transferring those antibodies to the critically ill might kick start recovery.
"We want to assess and study if it helps our very critical patients as a life saving measure," says lead researcher Sonal Pannu. "Going forward, as the research develops, if it seems it might be more helpful for patients before they get critically sick then we’ll be moving that way."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing academic institutions like the Wexner Medical Center to use plasma to treat COVID-19 to evaluate its safety and efficacy.
"We don’t know if it works yet, we hope it will work, we need to study it more," Pannu says.
Ohio State has tested the plasma treatment on two patients so far, with more trials planned.
Labs in Cincinnati and Dayton are also collecting and testing samples from people who have recovered from the disease.
Donors must meet all blood donor eligibility requirements, and also must be:
- diagnosed with COVID-19 through a laboratory test.
- symptom-free for 28 days before donating.
- negative for HLA antibodies.