TCMS Convalescent Plasma Workgroup Report and Recommendations 

In an effort to coordinate the use of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) across all Austin area hospitals, the Travis County Medical Society and We Are Blood (our local blood supplier) formed a Convalescent Plasma Workgroup to formulate guidelines for administering CCP. 

When people have been exposed to a viral infection, most patients will ultimately form antibodies against that infection. In people who have recovered from COVID-19, we can then collect their plasma which contains antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and give it to hospitalized patients who are currently infected in the hope that it will help them fight the virus.

We don’t know yet. Convalescent plasma has been shown to be helpful in other diseases such as the Spanish flu in 1918 and hemorrhagic fever in 1979. One recent success was the use of convalescent plasma to treat the Ebola virus. Early publications of small case series from China on COVID-19 have demonstrated some potential benefit, but more data are needed before knowing if this is truly effective. Austin area hospitals are part of an FDA Expanded Access Protocol (EAP) being run by The Mayo Clinic in consenting eligible patients and treating them with COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP). This will help us collect data on the utility of CCP.

  • Hospitalized patients are eligible to receive convalescent plasma if:
    • They are 18+ years of age
    • They have laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19
    • They are admitted to an acute care facility for the treatment of COVID-19 complications
    • They have severe or life-threatening COVID-19, or judged by the treating provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease
    • There is informed consent provided by the patient or healthcare proxy
  • Severe COVID-19 is defined by one or more of the following:
    • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
    • Respiratory frequency ≥ 30/min
    • Blood oxygen saturation ≤ 93%
    • Partial pressure of arterial oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen ratio < 300
    • Lung infiltrates > 50% within 24 to 48 hours
  • Life-threatening COVID-19 is defined as one or more of the following:
      • Respiratory failure
      • Septic shock
      • Multiple organ dysfunction or failure


      Yes! Currently, the inventory of convalescent plasma at We are Blood is plentiful and far exceeds demand.

      Each hospital has a principal investigator (PI) who is facilitating this treatment. If you are caring for patients at any of these hospitals and you have questions about administering CCP, please contact the appropriate PI.

Special thanks to Dr. Jeff Yorio and the other members of the CCP Workgroup for their contributions to this Guidance.

John Abikhaled, MD
TCMS President