Plasma from people who’ve had COVID is underutilized as a treatment, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Convalescent plasma is plasma donated by people who’ve already had COVID and recovered. Early in the pandemic this historically successful technique was attempted to stem the tide of COVID-related death, but now the therapy has fallen into disuse. Arturo Casadevall, a convalescent plasma expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Casadevall: We are talking about a therapy that is given once that costs $300.00. What is the risk benefit of this? And people are not using it. This therapy works best when given early. COVID has two phases, a viral phase and an inflammatory phase. The inflammatory phase is what puts you in the hospital. That’s because it interferes with gas exchange, people get short of breath. The antibody works on the viral phase, so many people when they show up in the emergency room are already too late to be helped. But not all of them are that late.   :30

Casadevall is trying to raise awareness of convalescent plasma therapy, which he says could benefit many and reduce the need for hospitalizations nationally. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.