Hospitals in at least nine states are ramping up efforts to collect plasma from recovered coronavirus patients to help people suffering from the disease recover, FDA Commissioner Dr. Steven Hahn said Tuesday.
"We have allowed this to occur through what is called an expanded access program, (and) 875 hospitals. 755 physicians around the country have already signed up for this," Hahn said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."
"We really encourage those Americans who have had the COVID-19 virus to donate plasma, and they can do that either through their local blood bank or through the Red Cross on their web page."
Plasma has been used for years and in other outbreaks, said Hahn.
"What you do is take the plasma, and that's the liquid portion of the blood, from someone who has recovered from COVID-19...in that liquid portion of the blood is the natural immunity that the body develops the antibodies of the virus," said Hahn. "Up to four people can receive that plasma."
Hahn also discussed the upcoming tests for the use of hydroxychloroquine to battle COVID-19, including a statewide drug trial in South Dakota.
"There are some reports that hydroxychloroquine has some effectiveness in this disease," said Hahn. "They aren't definitive yet, but that's why these clinical trials have so important. My hat is off to (South Dakota) Gov. (Kristi) Noem and other states across the country and also academic centers doing these trials."
Dr. Anthony Fauci also has started a "fairly large scale trial" at the National Institutes of Health, said Hahn.
He also discussed a new test that will allow medical professionals to test for coronavirus through saliva rather than by the use of swabs.
The saliva test must still be done through a healthcare provider rather than home, he added, but it does provide "greater advantages moving forward."
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