“So okay, first day I had a sore throat when I was going to bed and I was like okay this is the beginning, like I know it is.”

UW-Madison freshman Elle Monfried knew she had COVID-19 when she began showing symptoms about a month ago.

Now that she has recovered, there may be essential COVID-19 antibodies located in the plasma of her blood, which can be extracted and administered to a patient who is battling the virus. This process is called convalescent plasma therapy, a developing COVID-19 treatment method.

“We showed that when we gave convalescent plasma early, within one or two days, we were able to keep these patients out of the ICUs and off of ventilators.”

UW-Madison sophomore Brody Andes launched the Badgers Give Back Blood Drive after learning about Dr. Hartman’s research on the efficacy of convalescent plasma on COVID-19 patients.

“This is probably the biggest event encouraging the donation of convalescent plasma.”

As COVID-19 hospitalizations rise in Wisconsin, Dr. Hartman says that the convalescent plasma collected from the Badgers Give Back Blood Drive will likely be kept in the state. After the plasma is extracted from the drive, it will be stored here at UW Health until it can be administered to a patient in need.

Dr. Hartman says the Badgers Give Back Blood Drive will provide COVID-19 convalescent plasma researchers with the largest collection of data so far.

“So we have, you know, about three thousand people on campus who have recovered from COVID, and to have that amount of people in that area and the ability to collect blood and plasma from them is just a tremendous resource.”

For the Badger Report, I’m Sally Young