Clinical Center News
Winter 2021

Had Covid? Your Blood Might be the Key to a Cure

New study is looking for volunteers
Patient Jennifer Azar participates in COVID-19 antibody study
Jennifer Azar is screened for the NIH Clinical Center's COVID-19 plasma antibody study.

Millions of Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and recovered after their illness. NIH is hoping these people may be key to more effective treatments for the viral infection.

The principle is simple: collect blood from people who have recovered from COVID-19 because their plasma can treat patients with the disease.

Dr. Kamille West, the principal investigator of the clinical trial, explained that the body reacts to viral infections by creating antibodies: proteins your immune system makes to combat the virus.

"If you recover from the infection, your blood is likely to have antibodies against the virus. Blood is made of liquid plasma and blood cells; the antibodies are found in the plasma. If you give that plasma to patients who are very ill with the disease, the antibodies in the donor's plasma may help fight the virus in those patients," said West.

In early studies, some patients have improved with this treatment. NIH research is trying to understand if this could be an effective treatment approach for some patients.

NIH has been collecting samples since April 2020. One of the largest challenges is finding high-quality candidates for the research. Donors have to match a profile, be appropriate for the study and be able to participate safely.

When a donor has blood drawn, the plasma is separated and the red cells are returned to the patient's body. The limited blood loss means donors generally recover more quickly than a regular blood donation.

Jennifer Azar, a volunteer for the study, was happy to donate her plasma. "I feel incredibly grateful to have recently recovered from COVID-19."

"If my plasma can somehow assist another person fight off the virus I will feel like I've made a small difference in the battle against COVID-19."

If you or someone you know has recovered from COVID-19, consider participating in this study. You can learn more online or call the NIH Clinical Center Office of Patient Recruitment at 1-800-411-1222 and ask for information on study 20-CC-0092.

- Donovan Kuehn and Daniel Silber

You are now leaving the NIH Clinical Center website.

This external link is provided for your convenience to offer additional information. The NIH Clinical Center is not responsible for the availability, content or accuracy of this external site.

The NIH Clinical Center does not endorse, authorize or guarantee the sponsors, information, products or services described or offered at this external site. You will be subject to the destination site’s privacy policy if you follow this link.

More information about the NIH Clinical Center Privacy and Disclaimer policy is available at