FDA Commissioner encourages recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma

April 17, 2020

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner (FDA) Stephen M. Hahn, MD, encouraged patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma, according to a statement released by the FDA.

Prior experience with respiratory viruses and limited data that have emerged from China suggest that convalescent plasma—which is the blood plasma donated by people who have recovered from the virus— has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19, Hahn said.

“It is important that we evaluate this potential therapy in the context of clinical trials, through expanded access, as well as to facilitate emergency access for individual patients, as appropriate,” Hahn said.

More than 1,040 sites and 950 physician investigators nationwide have signed on to participate in an effort, led by the Mayo Clinic to coordinate access to investigational convalescent plasma for hospitalized patients with severe cases of COVID-19, Hahn said.

Hahn also said several clinical trials are underway to evaluate the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma, while the FDA has granted numerous single-patient emergency investigational new-drug (eIND) applications as well.

“As this work moves forward, the key to ensuring the availability of convalescent plasma to those in greatest need is getting recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma,” Hahn said.

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 interested donors.

Visit the FDA for more news