Right now we are seeing an increase by hospitals using convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. In the past two weeks the demand for convalescent plasma has increased by 500%.
Recently, OneBlood’s Senior VP of Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Susan Forbes interviewed Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D. Director Center of Biologics Evaluation and Research - Food and Drug Administration to learn how medical teams are using convalescent plasma.
Why is there such a demand right now for convalescent plasma?
It would seem that it's becoming one of the first choices, not necessarily the first choice, but it's become one of the frontline therapies that people look to when people, end up in the hospital and start to develop problems breathing. There's probably thousands-plus of these units being given each day.
With the increased usage is the FDA concerned that the demand could outpace the supply?
We’re very concerned at the moment because right now we're on a very steep increase in the number of cases we were in a problem with supply previously back in April. But now that the number of cases are surging again, we’re pretty worried that we're going to get into a problem with supply because the demand is going to increase.
We've seen in the past week, a dramatic increase in demand. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of hospitals requesting plasma. So we're suspecting that convalescent plasma is going to become in short supply if we don't have more donors come out.
Convalescent plasma is being used earlier on to treat COVID-19 patients. Why is that?
That preliminary evidence, evidence that's waiting to be confirmed by more data seemed to show that the earlier you give the convalescent plasma, the more you help people, the more people you keep off of progressing to ventilators. And it's hopefully to get them to heal faster and to prevent the use of that ventilator.
One of the main ways it works is by providing those protective antibodies that help clear the virus from the body.
So if you clear the virus before the virus has a chance to hurt organs like the kidney or others there, the idea is you prevent the damage to their body and people will get better more quickly.
What is your call to action to people who have recovered from the coronavirus to donate their plasma?
This is something that somebody can do who's had coronavirus. People are often very grateful for the care they've received. They want to do something to give back. So if you've had coronavirus and
you've gotten better from it, one of the things that you can do, pretty simple, pretty easy to give back is to go donate convalescent plasma.
It's not a difficult thing to do. It makes a big difference and people on the other end who are receiving it, their lives may be saved.
Watch the full interview with Dr. Marks here.
If you have recovered from COVID-19 please help others recover by donating convalescent plasma. Fill out the submission form today.