Bethesda, Md. – AABB is launching today a new website as an educational resource to inform the public, blood collectors and clinicians about COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP). The new website, COVIDplasma.org, was made possible by a grant from the Cerus Corporation. It will provide information to connect people who have recovered from COVID-19 to AABB-accredited blood centers so that they can potentially donate convalescent plasma to help improve the status of critically ill patients with COVID-19.
The FDA recently announced new guidelines permitting the use of CCP as an investigational treatment for patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 infections. CCP must be collected from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 infection. Although the use of CCP to treat patients with COVID-19 is considered an investigational treatment, the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for infectious diseases dates back to the 1890s.
“The only source of COVID-19 convalescent plasma are donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19. Blood centers, hospital blood collectors, hospital blood banks and transfusion medicine services are making available the first widely available investigational therapy to treat patients who have moderate to severe COVID-19,” said AABB President Beth Shaz, MD. “AABB is proud of the important role the blood community is playing to bring this important therapy from the donor to the patient. The provision of COVID-19 convalescent plasma is a fundamental step in assisting the recovery of patients with COVID-19 as the novel coronavirus continues to rapidly spread in the United States, affecting many lives. This therapy shows promise in its ability to save lives.”
The new AABB website includes information about whether an individual is eligible to donate his or her plasma to be used as an experimental therapy for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. It also includes a link to AABB’s blood bank locator, a tool to help identify a nearby blood center or hospital blood collector. Individuals interested in donating COVID-19 convalescent plasma should reach out to a nearby blood collector to learn whether it is being collected at that facility.
Many AABB-accredited blood donation centers are collecting CCP. Once the plasma is collected, tested and processed, it is sent to hospitals where the blood banks, transfusion service professionals and other clinicians prepare and administer the treatment to patients. AABB has released a protocol to assist facilities in the collection of CCP.
The FDA is facilitating emergency access to convalescent plasma from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 for investigational use in patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections. According to FDA, it is possible that CCP containing antibodies to the 2019 novel coronavirus might be effective against the infection.
AABB is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields of transfusion medicine and cellular therapies. The association is committed to improving health through the development and delivery of standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership includes physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers, administrators, medical technologists and other health care providers. AABB members are located in more than 80 countries and AABB accredits institutions in more than 50 countries.