Who are we?

We are a group of physicians and scientists from 57 institutions in 46 states who have self-organized for the purpose of investigating the use of convalescent plasma in the current COVID-19 pandemic. The nucleus of the organization sprung from a coalition of biomedical researchers assembled several years ago to refocus studies of health and disease more squarely on public health priorities.1

Thus when Arturo Casadevall, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at Johns Hopkins University and Liise-anne Pirofski, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine published, on March 13th 2020, their paper, “The convalescent sera option for containing COVID-19” in the Journal of Clinical Investigation2, a group of colleagues who were already connected through friendships and common interests, instantly recognized the promise and importance of examining whether this mode of treatment might work in COVID-19 and reached out to other colleagues in virology, transfusion medicine, epidemiology, clinical trials and several other disciplines to move these ideas forward. Hence, the National Convalescent Plasma Project (CCPP19) emerged as a decentralized grass roots effort from academic institutions that rapidly organized itself into a national organization to deploy the use of plasma in this emergency. The special attraction of this modality of treatment is that, unlike vaccines or newly developed drugs, it could, in principle, be made available very rapidly.

Notwithstanding that we were all more-or-less sheltered in place, our first nationwide conference call, organized by Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic, with more than 100 participants, took place on March 21st, 2020 and our website, a joint production of Amazon Web Services and Michigan State University Information Technology, went live on March 24th, 2020.

We trust that the coming weeks and months will show us whether or not this approach can make a difference to outcomes in the present pandemic, whether by use early or late in the course of disease, or as a preventative approach in exposed individuals who are not yet ill.

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project (CCPP19) Leadership Group

  • Arturo Casadevall MD, PhD (Chair), Johns Hopkins University
  • Brenda J. Grossman, MD, MPH, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Michael J Joyner, MD, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine
  • Jeffrey P Henderson MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Nigel Paneth MD, MPH, Michigan State University
  • Liise-anne Pirofski, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Shmuel Shoham MD, Johns Hopkins University

[1] Paneth N, Joyner MJ: Editor’s Introduction to the Special Issue: Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, volume 61, number 4 (autumn 2018): 467–471. Johns Hopkins University Press.

[2] Casadevall A, Pirofski LA. J Clin Invest. 2020 Mar 13. pii: 138003. doi: 10.1172/JCI13800