A COVID-19 patient at UW Hospital has received the first transfusion of plasma from a local patient who donated it since recovering from the disease.

The UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and UW Health are part of a nationwide effort to study whether plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 given to patients who are seriously ill with the disease can help shorten the duration or severity of their illness.

Plasma is the liquid portion of blood that contains, among other components, the pathogen-fighting antibodies produced by the body in response to an infection. The immune systems of those who recover, or convalesce, from COVID-19 produce antibodies that may help detect and fight the virus that causes it, SARS-CoV-2. Using convalescent plasma involves taking these antibodies and giving them to sick patients still fighting the virus.

Serving as local principal investigator is William Hartman, professor of anesthesiology at SMPH. The school is part of a national consortium led by Mayo Clinic and includes more than 40 institutions investigating the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19.

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