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Defining COVID-19 Terms: Convalescent Plasma

April 24, 2020

Elizabeth (Izzy) Montgomery, MPA
Policy Analyst
501-526-2244
efmontgomery@achi.net

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In this installment in our series explaining key terms and phrases used by public health officials in discussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we look at the term “convalescent plasma.”

Discussions of COVID-19 treatment options have sometimes included references to convalescent plasma. According to the Mayo Clinic, ”convalescent plasma refers to virus antibodies that a person who has recovered from COVID-19 carries in his or her blood. Preliminary research suggests that giving convalescent plasma to very ill COVID-19 patients may reduce the severity and duration of illness.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued recommendations for investigational COVID-19 convalescent plasma. So far, convalescent plasma has not been approved by the FDA for use in treating patients, and therefore it is regulated as an investigational product. However, the FDA has established pathways for healthcare providers to use investigational plasma, including in clinical trials.

In Arkansas, efforts are underway to encourage recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their plasma. Recovered patients are eligible to donate plasma after being symptom-free for 14 days and undergoing a swab test to ensure no live virus is present.

See more definitions of terms and other information about the pandemic on our website’s COVID-19 in Arkansas page.