Marshfield Clinic Health System is offering expanded access to an investigational convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 patients. This novel approach treats patients with COVID-19 by transfusing plasma from people that have recovered from COVID-19.

The Clinical Research Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute is providing regulatory support so that the Health System can provide this treatment option to patients. This includes the use of a research coordinator to manage the program. Mayo Clinic is the lead institution on the expanded access program.

“It is exciting that we are able to provide this expanded access program to our patients," said Martin Reriani, M.D., principal investigator for the program and critical care and pulmonary medicine doctor at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield. “It has been a true asset to have the support of the Research Institute as we have launched this program at the Health System. We are partnering with the blood center, led by Dr. Kathy Puca, who is instrumental in helping to identify donors and preparing the convalescent plasma."

How it works

People who recover from COVID-19 do so, at least in part, because their blood contains substances called antibodies, which are capable of fighting the virus that causes the illness. It turns out that for some other diseases caused by viruses, giving people the liquid portion of blood (plasma), obtained from those who have recovered from the virus, leads to more rapid improvement of the disease.

Patients with COVID-19 may improve faster if they receive plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 because it provides passive immunity to help fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Initial data available from studies using COVID-19 convalescent plasma for the treatment of individuals with severe or life-threatening disease indicate that a single dose of 200 mL showed benefit for some patients, leading to improvement.

“COVID-19 convalescent plasma if successful will add an important treatment option for COVID-19," Dr. Reriani said.

The expanded access program is available at all hospitals within the Marshfield Clinic Health System. 

COVID-19 convalescent plasma has not yet been demonstrated to provide clinical benefit in patients affected by this disease. It's not known if this treatment will or will not help those with COVID-19 or if it will have any harmful effects, but this is one of the only treatments that we have at present.

To learn more about the expanded access program, go to