Using the Blood from Cured Coronavirus Patients to Treat COVID-19

April 12, 2020
Blood from cured coronavirus patients may be useful in order to transfuse the antibodies to another person with the ongoing infection. What do we know so far? Find out more in this article.

The coronavirus has created a pandemic that is currently shaking the world. Since it’s a new virus, there’s no established treatment and scientists still haven’t understood or discovered all its characteristics. However, scientists are currently studying the use of blood from cured coronavirus patients as a potential treatment.

Coronaviruses are actually a family of viruses. The new coronavirus emerged in the city of Wuhan in December 2019.

Since it’s such a recent occurrence, there still aren’t enough studies to confirm this yet. However, thanks to all the ongoing research, scientists are getting to know the virus better and better each day. They’re able to pinpoint the greatest risk factors and which treatments are working best in patients.

In this article, we’re going to explain about the latest research that scientists are carrying out using the blood from cured coronavirus patients. The hope is that they will be able to use this blood in infected people. This is a technique that has worked quite successfully in other diseases apart from COVID-19.

How do scientists use blood from cured coronavirus patients?

In a laboratory.
The use of blood from cured coronavirus patients aims to take advantage of the antibodies developed to confront the virus in critically ill patients.

The use of blood from cured coronavirus patients is a technique that doctors are beginning to use, but which scientists are still researching. However, this same technique has been used in the past to treat other infections, such as Ebola.

This treatment is based on a mechanism called passive immunity. When a person overcomes an infection, then this is thanks to specific molecules that worked against the virus that has caused the infection. These are the antibodies. These antibodies circulate in that person’s blood and can neutralize the virus. The idea is that if we introduce these antibodies into a person who is currently infected, they can help him or her fight the virus more effectively.

Currently, this technique has been implemented in the United States, certain cities in Spain, and other places. However, it can only be used in patients who are in a critical state. In addition, the doctors will need to know that the other person had completely eliminated the coronavirus from the body.

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How do scientists and doctors perform this technique?

Taking a blood sample.
To perform this technique, it’s essential to be sure that the cured patient has completely eliminated the virus from his or her body. In addition, the test is done only on patients in critical condition.

To use the blood as a treatment for a person infected with coronavirus, different requirements must be met. First, as we’ve mentioned, it’s essential to check that the other person has eliminated the virus from his or her body.

To check this, doctors perform a test called PCR. Similarly, the person giving their blood mustn’t show any symptoms of the infection. In addition, the patient who is to receive the blood will need to be in a critical state, as scientists don’t yet know if the treatment is effective.

What happens is that scientists take infusions of plasma from the cured person. Plasma is the fluid present in the blood without the blood cells. This plasma, in theory, contains the antibodies necessary to neutralize the virus. Scientists then measure the level of antibodies and check the plasma for other diseases. Once they’ve checked everything, the plasma is transfused to the patient who has an active infection.

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The use of blood from patients cured of coronavirus: What do we know?

The use of blood with antibodies to fight an infection is a fairly old technique. It has had good results in certain infections such as Spanish flu or Ebola. However, we mustn’t forget that, in the case of coronavirus, this is an ongoing study.

Therefore, although this is a possible treatment and is starting to be used, we still can’t be sure of its effectiveness. However, due to the theory behind the technique, and past experience, most scientists are expecting good results from it.

  • Madrid estudia usar plasma sanguíneo de pacientes curados de la COVID-19 para tratar casos graves. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.agenciasinc.es/Noticias/Madrid-estudia-usar-plasma-sanguineo-de-pacientes-curados-de-la-COVID-19-para-tratar-casos-graves
  • ¿Es el plasma de pacientes que superan el Covid-19 un posible antídoto? (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://gacetamedica.com/investigacion/es-el-plasma-de-los-pacientes-que-superan-el-covid-19-un-posible-antidoto/
  • Blood from people who recover from coronavirus could provide a treatment – The Washington Post. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/27/coronavirus-serum-plasma-treatment/
  • FDA. (2020). Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma – Emergency INDs, (March 24, 2020),
    Available in https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/investigational-new-drug-ind-or-device-exemption-ide-process-cber/investigational-covid-19-convalescent-plasma-emergency-inds