THURSDAY, April 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking Americans who have recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to donate their blood plasma to help fight the pandemic.
Convalescent plasma has antibodies to COVID-19 and could be used to make treatments for severely ill COVID-19 patients, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., explained. "Prior experience with respiratory viruses and limited data that have emerged from China suggest that convalescent plasma has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19," Hahn said in an agency news release. "It is important that we evaluate this potential therapy in the context of clinical trials, through expanded access, as well as facilitate emergency access for individual patients, as appropriate."
The FDA recently outlined its efforts to work with partners in government, academic centers, and industry to develop and provide patients with convalescent plasma products. But the effort depends on getting recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma, Hahn emphasized. He said the FDA has a 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 American Red Cross has also set up a website for interested donors, and the FDA is working with other groups to encourage donations. People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks can contact their local blood or plasma collection center to schedule an appointment.