Across 46 states and 57 institutions, doctors and scientists are studying plasma — a component of the blood — extracted from coronavirus survivors to determine whether it can be used to treat other patients.
The University of Texas Health Science Center and the Memorial Hermann Health System have joined the initiative, called the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project.
In a press release on the project, Henry Wang, MD, MS, professor and executive vice chair of research in the Department of Emergency Medicine with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, broke down how plasma therapy could potentially help those with COVID-19.
"To fight an infection, you need antibodies to track down and kill the virus," he said. "People who are critically ill from the COVID-19 virus often don't have the antibodies needed to fight the virus. Using this strategy called 'convalescent plasma,' we transfuse the antibodies from surviving victims in hopes that it will attack the virus and boost recovery."
The University of Texas Health Science Center and the Memorial Hermann Health System are asking people in the greater Houston area to consider donating blood if they have had a confirmed case of COVID-19.
The press release states that donors must be at least 18 years of age and in overall good health, without any cold or flu symptoms. They also must have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis documented by a laboratory test, and be fully recovered from COVID-19, with no symptoms for at least 14 days before the donation.
Anyone interested can fill out this form.