The U.S. government invested $800 million in plasma when the country was desperate for Covid-19 treatments. A year later, the program has fizzled.
Accounts of atrocities keep coming in as the wounded flee to the regional capital, Mekelle, where Tigrayans say they are being winnowed for their leaders’ rebellion.
“I really believe when we’re all set free from captivity, we are going to be so happy and kind to each other,” Gail McGovern says.
The Red Cross has provided more nights of shelter to Americans this year than at any point on record, a sign of the widening human toll of climate change.
With fires on the West Coast and floods on the Gulf Coast, relief organizations are providing meals and shelter to devastated communities. If you want to give aid, here are some research pointers.
Thousands of Covid-19 patients have been treated with blood plasma outside of rigorous clinical trials — hampering research that would have shown whether the therapy worked.
Thousands of Covid-19 patients have been treated with blood plasma outside of rigorous clinical trials — hampering research that would have showed whether the therapy worked.
As the influenza pandemic swept across the United States in 1918 and 1919, masks took a role in political and cultural wars.
Hurricane Hanna prompted officials and residents alike to rethink how and where to ride out a dangerous storm during a pandemic.
What you need to know about donating in a time of crisis.
Hospitals have resumed elective surgeries and many Americans are venturing out of their homes again, but the rate of donations has yet to bounce back.
Nonprofits are sending fewer volunteers. Local emergency managers risk being overwhelmed. FEMA is trying “virtual” assistance. And hurricane season starts June 1.
A letter signed by more than 500 medical professionals cited recent fears of a blood shortage during the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the avenues currently being pursued in terms of developing an effective treatment for COVID-19 is through the use of convalescent plasma. Basically, that means using the liquid component of blood from people who have had, and already recovered fully from COVID-19 to produce treatments that hopefully translate the antibodies they developed over the course of fighting off the virus to others. The FDA has created a dedicated new website seeking recovered COVID-19 donations, and explaining its potential uses.
Use of convalescent plasma is hardly a new concept: It’s been in use since the late 1890s, in fact, and was employed during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, albeit with “mixed results.” Modern methods could help improve the efficacy and potential of recovered plasma as a treatment method, and there are a number of drugs in development that use plasma (both animal and human) as the basic active ingredient of their approach.
The new FDA website around COVID-19 plasma donation defines what it is, and why it’s under investigation as a possible treatment. It also outlines what conditions need to be met in order for an individual to be qualified to donate (no symptoms for at least 28 days prior to donation, or at least 14 days when combined with a confirmed negative lab test for active COVID-19 viral presence), and it directs you to donate via an American Red Cross or local blood center nearby.
Why is so much COVID-19 patient plasma needed, if it’s not yet even proven to be effective in treatment of the virus? Mainly because there are a lot of efforts underway to determine whether it actually can help with efforts to combat the virus, including clinical trials for a number of different treatments, as well as single-patient treatment authorizations through what are known as emergency investigational new drug (eIND) one-off usage approvals from the FDA.
As with every potential treatment and vaccine in development to address COVID-19 at this stage, recovered plasma remains unproven, and it’s unlikely ongoing efforts to study its effectiveness will bear definitive proof one way or another in the near term. Still, there’s a growing need for plasma supplies to help further that work, hence the FDA’s decision to spur more donations with dedicated informational resources like this one.
The sisters of Philadelphia were lifesavers during the Spanish flu epidemic. They are an inspiration today.