Along with the American Red Cross and other healthcare facilities across the country, Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey's largest health network, is looking for people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to donate their blood, according to a press release.
The researchers will study volunteer blood samples to learn more about the disease and hopefully identify clues for treating it. The blood of recovered COVID-19 patients contains antibodies — proteins that the body produces to fight off the virus — which could help researchers learn more about COVID-19.
They're also looking to identify volunteers with higher levels of antibodies, who would then be asked to provide a second, larger plasma donation, which may be used to treat people with severe cases of the virus.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently allows doctors to request permission to use this type of treatment, called convalescent plasma, on patients with immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
Convalescent plasma treatment has shown some promise, but more research is needed to prove its efficacy.
The study is seeking patients between the ages of 18 and 60 with a prior laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 and who have been symptom-free for at least 14 days. Potential plasma donors can fill out an online form.