Jessica Justman, MD, ICAP’s senior technical director, spoke on NPR’s All Things Considered on July 24, discussing current efforts to determine whether blood serum taken from recovered COVID-19 patients could help prevent the disease in others.
HARRIS: Of course, they have to figure out whether it works first. Dr. Jessica Justman at Columbia University in New York tried to launch a similar study this spring, but the disease was disappearing from the city quickly and she didn’t have luck recruiting participants.
JESSICA JUSTMAN: Compared to March and April, people have become less worried, less scared of COVID, and perhaps a little bit less inclined to go for a preventive treatment.
HARRIS: That situation could turn around if the disease roars back. And Justman says the idea is well worth pursuing. A similar strategy works for other diseases, including rabies and hepatitis B. Drug companies are planning to manufacture antibodies instead of collecting blood from recovered patients, but those monoclonal antibodies won’t be cheap.
JUSTMAN: What I like about the convalescent plasma idea is that if it worked, I see it as something that could really be scalable in resource-limited settings. And I think that’s where the convalescent plasma just has this really great potential.