Bloomberg Philanthropies, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, and Johns Hopkins University announced today a joint effort to fund research into the potential therapeutic uses of COVID-19 convalescent plasma, led by Arturo Casadevall, an infectious disease expert and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor who holds joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
In recent weeks, Casadevall has led a team of physicians and scientists from around the United States to establish a network of hospitals and blood banks that can begin collecting, isolating, and processing blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors. Researchers hope to use the technique to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients and boost the immune systems of health care providers and first responders. Currently there are no proven drug therapies or effective vaccines for treating COVID 19. Casadevall and his team believe using plasma from recovered viral positive patients could provide immediate immunity to the most at-risk individuals. The strategy of isolating plasma is a long-established technology, and recent advances make it as safe as a blood transfusion.