S1E27 / Convalescent Plasma / Arturo Casadevall and Michael Busch
“With penicillin, for example, you needed a few days to begin to get better. With antibodies, these people got better within hours, almost as if the antibody was mediating an antitoxin effect.” - Arturo Casadevall
In today’s episode, our host Dr. Celine Gounder speaks with Arturo Casadevall, Chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, about convalescent plasma, the transfer of antibodies from a disease survivor to a disease patient. They discuss the history of convalescent plasma transfer, how it has been used in the past during other infectious disease outbreaks, such as diphtheria and measles, and how the invention of antibiotics led to the decline of this treatment method in the United States. They also talk about the current research studies being done to test the effectiveness of this treatment method on COVID-19 patients. Our host also speaks with Michael Busch, the Director of the Vitalant Research Institute, about how convalescent plasma transfer is currently being used as a treatment for COVID-19 patients at different stages of infection. They also discuss the process of convalescent plasma donation, something that anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 and now has antibodies can do.
Listener Q&A: Should I go on an out-of-state trip with my husband’s family? I am antibody negative, how can I minimize the risk of becoming exposed to COVID-19 on the trip?
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