The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is encouraging those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma. These donations contain antibodies to the virus that may help patients fighting the disease. While there is no approved treatment for COVID-19, convalescent plasma is being investigated as a therapy because there is information suggesting it may help some patients recover.
Research on convalescent plasma is ongoing to determine if it is safe and effective as a treatment for COVID-19. Investigators are evaluating whether it might reduce mortality, lessen the severity, or shorten the length of illness in patients fighting the infection.
The FDA has launched a web page to help guide recovered COVID-19 patients to local blood- or plasma-collection centers. In addition to donating convalescent plasma that will be directly transfused to patients, there are opportunities to donate for research into plasma-derived immune globulin therapy. For this type of treatment, the plasma undergoes further processing to produce concentrated antibodies.
The FDA is partnering with several organizations to implement a protocol that will provide convalescent plasma to patients across the country who may not otherwise have access to this treatment.
The Mayo Clinic has been designated as the lead institution for this initiative, called the Expanded Access Program. Mayo is responsible for coordinating access to investigational convalescent plasma for hospitalized patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19, or those at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.
The Mayo Clinic has established a website called USCovidPlasma.org with details about the Expanded Access Program. It provides information for physicians, patients and family, and potential donors. It also includes statistics on program participation. As of April 27, 2020, the following data on the number of participants was available:
- 2115 Sites
- 3651 Physicians
- 5968 Patients
- 2576 Infused
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Helmer Scientific supports blood centers, hospitals, and the patients they serve. We would like to express our gratitude to all staff involved in collecting, processing, and transfusing blood therapies to treat patients and save lives. We are here to help you properly store and monitor your blood products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about the COVID-19 Expanded Access Program, click the link below: