Survivors of COVID-19 are donating their blood plasma in droves in hopes it helps other patients recover from the coronavirus. And while the jury’s still out, now scientists are testing if the donations might also prevent infection in the first place.
Thousands of coronavirus patients in hospitals around the world have been treated with so-called convalescent plasma — including more than 20,000 in the U.S. — with little solid evidence so far that it makes a difference. One recent study from China was unclear while another from New York offered a hint of benefit.
“We have glimmers of hope,” said Dr. Shmuel Shoham of Johns Hopkins University. With more rigorous testing of plasma treatment underway, Shoham is launching a nationwide study asking the next logical question: Could giving survivors plasma right after a high-risk exposure to the virus stave off illness?