ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic is the national site for the Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program. The program takes plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and uses it to treat patients who are struggling to battle the illness.
"If someone has recovered from COVID, their immune system has figured out how to take care of the COVID and get rid of it and defeat it. And then giving it to someone who is struggling to get well from COVID should help. So that's how it's being tested," explained Doctor Scott Wright, the Director of Mayo Clinic's Human Research Protection Program.
1,663 hospitals across the country are participating in the program. 2,300 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have agreed to participate when plasma is available. 750 people have already recieved plasma. More than 20 of those people are in Minnesota. Dr. Wright said that while those numbers exceed expectations, the fight is far from over.
"If you've recovered from COVID and you feel that you can donate blood and plasma, please think about it, because it will help 2 other people who are struggling and may not survive unless we can come up with new treatments to help them," Dr. Wright said.
Wright said that so far, anecdotal reports suggest the plasma program is working. But they haven't seen all of the data yet, so they're not commenting on its effectiveness until the Food and Drug Administration makes some kind of determination. Mayo Clinic is providing the FDA with data on a regular basis. The FDA will then decide to approve this as treatment for COVID-19, or they could decide that further study is needed.