APhA coronavirus watch: FDA releases COVID-19 convalescent plasma resources

A new toolkit from FDA helps clinicians, researchers, and patients understand convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19. “Convalescent plasma” refers to the use of antibodies in the blood of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to help others fight off the disease. Versions of the toolkit are available in both English and Spanish.

FDA is pursuing efforts to coordinate the use of convalescent plasma as a potential to treat patients infected with the virus, mainly through the facilitation of clinical trials. Experience with respiratory viruses prior to the pandemic, as well as initial data, suggest that convalescent plasma has the potential to reduce the severity or shorten the duration of illness caused by COVID-19. FDA has not approved convalescent plasma—or anything else—as a treatment for COVID-19, but in May 2020 released industry guidance that makes recommendations to researchers looking to conduct convalescent plasma studies; recommendations pertain to pathways to investigational use of plasma, patient eligibility, plasma collection, labeling, and record keeping.

The new resource includes a plasma donation fact sheet that covers how patients can determine if they are eligible to donate and who to contact. Donations must come from patients who have been symptom-free for 2 weeks. FDA encourages anyone who has fully recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating plasma; each donation can help up to four patients.

FDA’s new convalescent plasma resource also provides tweets and graphics stakeholders can use on social media.

For the latest information and other resources on COVID-19, visit APhA's Pharmacists’ Guide to Coronavirus at www.pharmacist.com/coronavirus.