Scientists hope antibodies from the blood of recently recovered patients can help fight off COVID-19 in others.
Under the FDA's expanded access authorization, doctors at UCSF have begun treating some of their sickest COVID-19 patients with blood plasma donated from people who have recovered from the virus.
"If you know somebody recovered and was successful, they're probably going to have the good antibodies in them, which we call neutralizing antibodies," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF.
Chin-Hong says the science behind plasma infusions has been around for decades and that doctors have been using convalescent plasma, as it's called, to treat disease since the time of polio.
"We don't really know if it works in COVID-19 just because it works in other infectious diseases, but there is a lot of plausibility," Chin-Hong said.