Follow the Data Podcast

99. Can Blood Plasma Therapy Treat COVID-19 Patients?

Episode Summary

It's been just over a year since the first coronavirus case was reported in the United States, and the virus continues to spread rapidly through our communities. Last spring, we spoke with Dr. Arturo Casadevall – an infectious disease specialist and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University who was leading a team of experts to develop a convalescent blood plasma therapy for health care workers and for early treatment of COVID-19 patients. To help launch this research, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Johns Hopkins worked together to provide early funding for the potential therapeutic uses of convalescent plasma. Fast forward to earlier this month, when the Mayo Clinic published a study showing antibodies in convalescent blood plasma therapy help lower mortality rates in over 3,000 coronavirus patients. While the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out, blood plasma therapy can help to save the lives of patients already infected with the coronavirus - and the Red Cross reports that hospital distributions of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patents have increased by 250% since October. On this episode, Dr. Casadevall joins Dr. Jessica Leighton of the Bloomberg Philanthropies public health team to tell us more about how his research has progressed over the past few months, if convalescent blood plasma therapy and the vaccine are effective for new coronavirus strains, and how you could help save lives in your community. If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and are interested in donating your blood plasma to others, please visit