convalescent plasma


: blood plasma that is obtained from an individual who has recovered from an infectious disease and contains antibodies against the infectious agent of the disease and may be administered by intravenous transfusion to prevent or treat infection in other individuals
In New York and Houston, pints of straw-colored convalescent plasma have dripped into the veins of five U.S. coronavirus patients.Elizabeth Weise and Mark Johnson
Convalescent plasma has the advantage that while its antibodies limit viral replication, other plasma components can also exert beneficial effects such as replenishing coagulation factors when given to patients with hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.John D. Roback and Jeannette Guarner
It's not yet known by which mechanism COVID-19 antibodies might work, but the thinking is that an infusion of convalescent plasma may boost a generalized response, known as passive immunity, until a patient develops a strong, targeted ability to fight the virus.Dana Sparks

Note: The terms convalescent plasma and convalescent serum are often used interchangeably.

Examples of convalescent plasma in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Trump subsequently browbeat his maladroit FDA chairman, Stephen Hahn, into issuing an emergency authorization for the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2023 Alison Bateman-House, a bioethicist at N.Y.U.’s medical school, raised the example of convalescent plasma, which was indiscriminately used to treat COVID patients at the beginning of the pandemic. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 19 June 2023 And there were other groups who were doing convalescent plasma studies. Steven Strogatz, Quanta Magazine, 5 Apr. 2023 Drugs in current use to treat the disease, such as hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, corticosteroids, and convalescent plasma can sometimes reduce the disease’s deadliness, but in India these therapies are available only to the very rich. T. Jacob John, Foreign Affairs, 11 Sep. 2020 Then, the large clinical trials suggested convalescent plasma didn’t work. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, 12 Jan. 2023 Only high-antibody-titer convalescent plasma was authorized for use. Verywell Health, 27 Jan. 2023 What remains for those who are not hospitalized but face high risk for severe illness from Covid-19 are antivirals such as Paxlovid, Remdesivir and Molnupiravir as well as convalescent plasma for some patients, all of which come with their own limitations. Syra Madad, CNN, 4 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'convalescent plasma.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1919, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of convalescent plasma was in 1919

Dictionary Entries Near convalescent plasma

Cite this Entry

“Convalescent plasma.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

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