UCSF Conducts First COVID-19 Blood Transfusion In Clinical Trial

SPRING VALLEY, NY - APRIL 24: A phlebotomist processes specimens of people getting tested for coronavirus antibodies at the Refuah Health Center on April 24, 2020 in Spring Valley, New York.
Photo credit Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have announced they have conducted the first blood transfusion from a person who has recovered from COVID-19 to one who still has the virus.

The hope is that the antibodies from the healthy individual might help a COVID-19 patient recover more quickly.

Right now, it is just a study.

But, if it is successful, could play a big role in reducing sickness and death from COVID-19.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong is an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at UCSF. He told KCBS Radio transfusing the antibodies from a recovered virus victim into someone still suffering from the disorder is not new, having been successfully used during prior pandemics and disease outbreaks.

"There is a legacy and the proof of concept that it would work," Dr. Chin-Hong said. "Of course, in the sickest patients we would probably not study them, we’d probably infuse them directly."

He said the key to successful trials is to have enough blood to test and that is where the public comes in.

"I think we need to get out the word more just like we do for a regular blood drive so people who have recovered from COVID-19 who are symptom-free for 28 days can take their test results where they were positive (or) confirmed, and take it directly to Vitalant or the American Red Cross."

PLEASE SHARE: We're looking for adults in #SanFrancisco #BayArea who have recovered from known or suspected #COVID19 infection and are willing to volunteer as a convalescent plasma donor in a UCSF clinical trial.Learn more and contact us ➡️ https://t.co/qsTsr0KVGH pic.twitter.com/WmHPeIAqJx

— UC San Francisco (@UCSF) April 25, 2020

That would determine whether they’re a potential donor. Dr. Chin-Hong said the procedure will not result in a vaccine.

The study could take months to complete and gain approval.