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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is taking part in new research and treatment using plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.

According to a press release, the medical center on Monday transfused the first patient in central and northern Ohio with plasma from a recovered patient.

“The transfusion is part of a nationwide effort to provide this plasma, also known as convalescent plasma, to people who are ill with life-threatening COVID-19 disease. People who’ve recovered from COVID-19 often have antibodies – proteins in the blood – that could possibly attack the virus,” the university said.

Researchers at Ohio State will study the donated plasma to learn which antibodies perform best, according to the release.

“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,” Dr. Scott Scrape, a pathologist and director of Transfusion Medicine at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.  “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.”

Ohio State says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing the use of convalescent plasma to “treat COVID-19 through an emergency investigational new drug application process with academic institutions to evaluate its safety and efficacy.”

The medical center is partnering with Milwaukee-based Versiti Inc. to collect blood from fully recovered COVID-19 patients, and each blood donation can treat up to two people, Dr. Scrape said. “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.

According to the press release, the convalescent plasma must be collected from donors who meet all regular blood donor eligibility criteria.

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Plasma donors must also meet these 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.