The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval for increased use in convalescent plasma to help fight the coronavirus pandemic across the country.
On Sunday the FDA gave emergency approval for expanded use of the antibody-rich blood plasma that they say may help hospitalized coronavirus patients find some relief. This means almost anyone who has tested positive for the virus can receive the plasma while they’re sick, not just the patients who are the sickest.
Last week the decision was made to limit the use of the plasma, but now that decision has been reversed and the process has been made even easier than before. This comes after there have been more than 176,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute Executive Director Jan Laub says this is a step in the right direction when it comes to battling the coronavirus.
“For them to come out and say let’s do this for emergency use it will make a difference, a positive difference,” Laub says.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute has been asking for convalescent plasma donations for months, saying they already have a hard time keeping up with the demand for the plasma. Now, Laub says with an increase in the people who can receive the plasma comes an extreme demand increase as well.
“We are still at a critical need, we provide for 90% for the hospitals and facilities in the state of Oklahoma,” Laub says.
The FDA says there isn’t enough data to truly confirm the idea that the plasma does actually help treat COVID-19 patients but they have seen improvement in many of the people who have received it.
Laub says if you have tested positive for the virus, you can donate convalescent plasma at their location on 81st and Yale or at a blood drive. She says whichever you decide to come to, you should make an appointment ahead of time and the whole process takes about an hour and a half.
If you aren’t able to donate convalescent plasma, Laub says they are always desperate for blood donors as well.