FDA encourages recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma for potential treatment


FILE – This Aug. 2, 2018, file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency’s campus in Silver Spring, Md. Health officials reported the first U.S. drug shortage tied to the viral outbreak that is disrupting production in China, but they declined to identify the manufacturer or the product. The Food and Drug Administration said late Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, that the drug’s maker contacted health officials recently about the shortage, which it blamed on a manufacturing issue with the medicine’s key ingredient. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WHITE OAK, Maryland (KCAU) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working with partners across the U.S. government, academia, and industry to expedite the development and availability of critical medical products to treat the novel coronavirus.

Thursday, the FDA announced they had an update on a potential treatment called convalescent plasma and are encouraging recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma to help others fight this virus.

Convalescent plasma is an antibody-rich product made from blood donated by people who have recovered from the coronavirus.

Prior experience with respiratory viruses and limited data that have emerged from China suggests that convalescent plasma has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of the illness caused by COVID-19.

The response to the FDA’s recently announced national efforts to facilitate the development of and access to convalescent plasma has been tremendous. There are more than 1,040 sites and 950 physician-investigators nationwide that have signed on to participate in the Mayo Clinic-led expanded access protocol.

A number of clinical trials are also taking place to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the convalescent plasma and the FDA has granted numerous single-patient emergency investigational new drug (eIND) applications as well.

As this work continues to move forward, the key to ensuring the availability of convalescent plasma to those in greatest need is getting recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma.

The FDA has launched a new webpage to guide recovered COVID-19 patients to local blood or plasma collection centers to discuss their eligibility and potentially schedule an appointment to donate.

The webpage also provides information for those interested in participating in the expanded access protocol, conducting clinical trials or submitting eIND applications.

The American Red Cross has also set up a website for those interested in donating, which can be found by clicking here.

The FDA continues to work with others in this area to help encourage additional donors.

During this challenging time, many people are asking what they can do to contribute to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those individuals who have recovered from the virus could have an immediate impact on helping others who are severely ill.

One donation has the potential to help up to four patients. Convalescent plasma can also be used to manufacture a biological product called hyperimmune globulin, which can similarly be used to treat current COVID-19 patients.

People who have fully recovered from the virus for at least two weeks can contact their local blood or plasma collection center to schedule an appointment. The FDA encourages individuals to consider donating and hope the information provided will serve as a helpful resource to facilitate this important act of kindness.

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