Published on who.int, 26 September 2014
The current evidence base: limited data – from 1976 up to now
Convalescent therapy was first used for a young woman infected with Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) in 1976 – the year the virus first emerged. The woman was treated with plasma from a person who survived infection with the closely-related Marburg virus. She had less clinical bleeding than other Ebola patients, but died within days.
During the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo, whole blood collected from recovered patients was administered to eight patients. Seven of the eight recovered.
Technical guidance for experts
WHO issued new interim guidance on “Use of convalescent whole blood or plasma collected from patients recovered from Ebola virus disease for transfusion during outbreaks”. The document is addressed to national health authorities and blood transfusion services.