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5 Things to Know About Convalescent Blood Plasma

President Donald Trump told the American people this week that convalescent plasma is a potential new treatment for COVID-19. His announcement followed the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Sunday to grant fast-track authorization for its emergency use as a treatment for hospitalized COVID patients.

This “emergency use authorization” triggered an outcry from scientists and doctors, who said the decision was not supported by adequate clinical evidence and criticized the FDA for what many perceived as bowing to political pressure.

With all the news swirling around convalescent plasma this week, we thought we’d break it down for you.

1. Convalescent plasma contains antibodies against disease. Donations are being promoted as a potential COVID-19 treatment.

“Convalescent” refers to recovery from a disease. And plasma is the yellowish, liquid part of blood in which blood cells are suspended.

When someone is infected with a virus, the body generates antibodies to fight off the viral particles. Enter COVID-19. If an individual who has recovered from this virus donates their plasma, scientists can isolate the antibodies from the plasma and give it to patients who are still in the early stages of their COVID-19 infection. This infusion, in theory, should help people fight off the virus while their own body catches up and makes its own supply of antibodies.

It’s not a new concept. An infusion of antibodies via plasma has been used as a treatment for other types of diseases, such as rabies.

The article was published at 5 Things to Know About Convalescent Blood Plasma.

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