Following a new initiative from the FDA, the American Red Cross is searching for eligible candidates to help with an effort to use plasma to treat patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
Process to Identify and Qualify Individuals
The Red Cross is working with the FDA to develop a process to identify and qualify individuals who have recovered from the virus and have the necessary antibodies to participate in this effort.
In a statement to the GV Wire, the Red Cross said, “Though this treatment is still experimental, preliminary data are promising. The American Red Cross is supportive of FDA’s effort and is committed to assisting with plasma collections from carefully-screened recovered COVID-19 patients to enable rapid access to treatment for the most seriously ill patients.”
Red Cross Webpage for Prospective Candidates
The Red Cross has a new webpage, RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid to help collect prospective donor information. The Red Cross will follow up with prospective candidates to confirm eligibility and participation.
On March 24, the FDA established the new initiative and the guidelines by which organizations like the Red Cross must abide by.
FDA: Very Early Stages of Study
In the FDA announcement, officials make a point of saying this is in the very early stages of study.
“Use of convalescent plasma has been studied in outbreaks of other respiratory infections, including the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, and the 2012 MERS-CoV epidemic. Although promising, convalescent plasma has not been shown to be effective in every disease studied,” the FDA said.
Only Fully Recovered COVID-19 Patients Eligible
The Red Cross said the safety of their staff, donors and ultimate recipients remains a top priority. Only individuals who have recovered fully from COVID-19 are eligible to donate therapeutic plasma, which means they have no detectable virus and are not infectious to others.