Treatment for emerging viruses: Convalescent plasma and COVID-19

Transfus Apher Sci. 2020 Jun;59(3):102790. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2020.102790. Epub 2020 Apr 20.


Use of convalescent plasma transfusions could be of great value in the current pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), given the lack of specific preventative and therapeutic options. This convalescent plasma therapy is of particular interest when a vaccine or specific therapy is not yet available for emerging viruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19. This report summarizes existing literature around convalescent plasma as a therapeutic option for COVID-19. It also includes recommendations for establishing a convalescent plasma program, enhancement considerations for convalescent plasma, and considerations around pathogen reduction treatment of convalescent plasma. Time is of the essence to set up protocols for collection, preparation, and administration of apheresis-collected convalescent plasma in response to the current pandemic. The immediate use of convalescent plasma provides prompt availability of a promising treatment while specific vaccines and treatments are evaluated and brought to scale. Further development of improved convalescent plasma, vaccines and other therapeutics depends on quick generation of additional data on pathogenesis and immune response. Additionally, given the lack of information around the natural history of this disease, PRT should be considered to add a layer of safety to protect recipients of convalescent plasma.

Keywords: COVID-19; Convalescent plasma; PRT; Pathogen reduction; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / therapeutic use
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology
  • Blood Safety
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Serotherapy
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / therapy*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology
  • Convalescence
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy*
  • Donor Selection
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / therapy
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Virus Inactivation


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral