The researchers who authored the paper say, “Deployment of this option requires no research or development,” as the method has been around since the 1930s.
The method involves collecting blood from a person who has had the virus and recovered from it. Using the serum — the part that contains infection-fighting antibodies — researchers hope to be able to inject another person, thus either preventing an infection or helping to fight it off.
Dr. Arturo Casadevall, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, and co-author of the new paper, says:
“It’s all doable — but to get it done, it requires effort, organization, resources… and people who have recovered from the disease who can donate the blood.”
The patient was a 47-year-old woman who had contracted the virus in Wuhan, China, and the researchers examined her immune response in their effort to understand her recovery.
Prof. Katherine Kedzierska, Head of the Human T cell Laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and her colleagues found an increase in immunoglobulin G — the most common type of antibody — in the woman’s blood samples. Additionally, they found an increase in immunoglobulin M.
The scientists also detected a high number of key immune cells, such as specialized helper T cells, killer T cells, and B cells, 7–9 days after symptom onset.
“This is an incredible step forward in understanding what drives recovery of COVID-19. People can use our methods to understand the immune responses in larger COVID-19 cohorts and also understand what’s lacking in those who have fatal outcomes.”
– Prof. Katherine Kedzierska