UW scientists explore another path for COVID-19 treatment

University of Wisconsin professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka is leading a scientific research team that found that prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – provides protection against reinfection and treatment with convalescent serum that limits virus replication in the lungs.

Researchers nationwide, including some from UW Health, are examining whether plasma or sera from COVID-19 patients could be given to sick patients to aid in their recovery. According to a release from the university, Kawaoka's team also extracted convalescent sera from previously sick hamsters.

The team infected new hamsters with the virus and then gave them antibody-laden sera either one day or two days following infection. Hamsters receiving treatment within a day of infection had much lower amounts of infectious virus in their nasal passages and lungs than those given a mock treatment.