The use of convalescent plasma to treat emerging infectious diseases: focus on Ebola virus disease

Curr Opin Hematol. 2015 Nov;22(6):521-6. doi: 10.1097/MOH.0000000000000191.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to discuss the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of emerging infectious diseases, focusing on the recent use for the treatment of Ebola virus disease (EVD).

Recent findings: Ebola convalescent plasma has been used as a therapy for treatment of EVD during the 2014 West Africa epidemic. Several cases from the United States and Europe have been recently published, in addition to multiple ongoing clinical trials in the United States and West Africa. Even more recently, convalescent plasma has been used for treatment of individuals with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

Summary: Although the first reports of successful treatment with passive immune therapy date back to the early 1900s, convalescent plasma has materialized as a possible therapy for patients who develop infection from one of the emerging infectious diseases such as EVD or MERS-CoV, although the efficacy of such therapy has yet to be proven in clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Component Transfusion*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / blood
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / immunology
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / therapy*
  • Humans