The need is growing for donations of convalescent plasma, an experimental treatment for COVID-19, as hospitalizations for patients with the disease continue to increase throughout Georgia. Piedmont Healthcare is participating in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded access program that involves the donation of plasma, the liquid portion of the blood, from COVID-19 survivors to those currently suffering from the disease.

According to the FDA, the plasma of people who have recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies, the proteins that fight infections, that helped to fight off the virus when they were sick. Those antibodies may, in turn, help others to recover from the disease.

The Red Cross is one organization that is receiving donations of plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 and then donating them to Piedmont patients who are part of the program.

“We encourage people who have recovered from COVID-19, if they are eligible and able, to please consider a plasma donation,” said Amy Hajari Case, Piedmont’s Medical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Research.

Expanded access programs, sometimes called “compassionate use,” represent a process by which patients with immediately life-threatening conditions or a serious disease can gain access to an investigational medical product for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or alternative therapy options are available.

Piedmont’s convalescent plasma program is being run through the Mayo Clinic, to which Piedmont will report back its data.

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