Tags: Coronavirus | convalescent plasma | donations | treatment | blood | transfusions | recovered

Health Officials Ramp Up Plasma Donations From Recovered COVID-19 Patients

worker in white lab coat and white gloves holds a bag of plasma in bubble wrap
A lab technician stores donated convalescent plasma donated by recovered COVID-19 patients for shipping to local hospitals on April 22, 2020 in Dulles, Virginia. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 02 July 2020 02:03 PM

U.S. health officials are in discussion with the American Red Cross and other blood organizations to see if they can increase the number of blood plasma donations they collect from recovered COVID-19 patients, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

People familiar with the ongoing talks told the newspaper that there is a large-scale effort to increase donations to help with a promising experimental treatment for coronavirus. 

Recently, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, asked blood centers if they can collect about 400,000 units of convalescent plasma.

The request is a large increase over the amount of plasma collected so far, according to the Journal. 

Some COVID-19 patients have been receiving convalescent-plasma transfusions as part of the Food and Drug Administration’s expanded-access program led by the Mayo Clinic.

So far, more than 28,000 patients have received the transfusions, according to an online registry. Last month, researchers reported that serious adverse reactions happened in less than 1% of patients who received the transfusions. 

Sources told the newspaper that the positive report on the study, coupled with a surge in demand as cases surge, has led to officials wanting to build a plasma stockpile. 

Negotiations between BARDA and the Red Cross involve collecting 200,000 units of convalescent plasma over the lifetime of their contract, which expires in March 2021, Shaun Gilmore, convalescent-plasma program executive at the Red Cross told the Journal.

Gilmore estimates 500,000 donors would be needed to collect 200,000 units of plasma.

HHS said that America’s Blood Centers, which represents 46 nonprofit blood centers around the country, also has talked with BARDA about increasing convalescent-plasma donations to address immediate needs and to store additional inventory in freezers. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to a year.

BARDA agreed to provide another $102 million for collecting, processing and shipping convalescent plasma, according to HHS.

“We are looking to collect as much convalescent plasma as the industry can bear without impacting normal blood collections,” an HHS spokeswoman said. 

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U.S. health officials are in discussion with the American Red Cross and other blood organizations to see if they can increase the number of blood plasma donations they collect...
convalescent plasma, donations, treatment, blood, transfusions, recovered
Thursday, 02 July 2020 02:03 PM
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