COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma

In March of 2020, FDA approved COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) as an Emergency Investigational New Drug (EIND) for patients with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Collection began at Hoxworth Blood Center in April of 2020.

Convalescent plasma is collected from recovered COVID-19 patients who weeks earlier have been found cleared from the disease and found to have developed enough antibodies in their plasma. Convalescent donor plasma may ameliorate the progression of the disease and even in some patients change significantly the outcome of the disease progression.

Hoxworth first began working with donors who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection to donate plasma rich in antibodies in early April 2020. That’s when the first donors in our region, who had recovered from a COVID-19 infection, became eligible to donate. Since then, 2,508 donors gave more than 5,539 units.

Hoxworth Blood Center has phased-out its COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma donation program effective March 18, 2021, due to increased immunization of community members and lower infection rates and spread of the disease. In addition, new treatment protocols that no longer require the transfusion of convalescent plasma have been implemented. 

“The community response to our CCP program has been nothing short of amazing,” said David Oh, MD, Hoxworth Chief Medical Officer. “I’m so proud of everyone on our team who has helped recruit, qualify, schedule, test, process, and deliver donations over the last year. Most of all, we thank the individual donors that stepped forward to help COVID-19 patients.”

If you are a physician, hospital representative or patient looking for more information, please email HoxCovid19@uc.edu

Convalescent Plasma Frequently Asked Questions

How many units of convalescent plasma has Hoxworth collected? 

As of March 15, 2021, Hoxworth Blood Center distributed over 5,500 units of convalescent plasma to local hospitals, with more than 2,500 plasma donors rolling up their sleeves since April of 2020.

Donating convalescent plasma proved to be an incredible way to make a difference during this time of uncertainty—and the units collected went to patients in need right here in the Tri-state area. Hoxworth is the only blood bank in our community, and the sole provider of blood, platelets, and plasma to over 30 hospitals in the states of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. 

Why is Hoxworth no longer collecting convalescent plasma? 

Hoxworth has ceased collection of convalescent plasma for a number of reasons. Increased immunization of community members and lower infection rates and spread of the disease have resulted in decreased demand for plasma from our area hospitals. In addition, new treatment protocols that no longer require the transfusion of convalescent plasma have been implemented. 

CCP units may be stored in a frozen state for up to one year after the date of donation.  Hoxworth continues to maintain an inventory of the product should the need arise.

I donated convalescent plasma and still want to help--how can I continue to make a difference? 

If you were a convalescent plasma donor with Hoxworth, we encourage you to donate platelets! Platelets are very fragile, short-lived blood cells that are essential for normal blood clotting, and they must be transfused within five days of donation. Hoxworth needs at least 40 platelet donors per day to meet the local demand. The process for donating platelets is very similar to the process of donating convalescent plasma, and the need is constant. 

How does Convalescent Plasma help patients?

The therapy is based on a medical concept called “passive immunity.” People who recover from an infection develop antibodies that circulate in the blood and can neutralize the pathogen. 

Through transfusion it is the hope that these antibodies will improve the disease fighting response to the virus. Antibodies will act as a boost to the immune system.

This type of therapy is more than 100 years old and was used during the 1918 flu pandemic, a time when antiviral drugs and most vaccines did not exist. This approach was used for polio, measles and mumps.