Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The federal government has named the Mayo Clinic the lead institution for providing coordinated access to convalescent plasma to determine if it is beneficial for patients hospitalized with severe or life-threatening COVID-19 infections.

A Mayo Clinic news release says the announcement from the Food and Drug Administration also listed those at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening illness from the coronavirus could be included in the investigational use of the material. Convalescent plasma is blood plasma that is collected from people who have recovered from the new viral illness and then used to treat others with the infection. The patient is transfused with the plasma, which contains antibodies that can attack the virus and help with the patient's recovery.

The Mayo Clinic program is led by researcher Dr. Michael Joyner and resulted from a national initiative of physicians and investigators from 40 different institutions who self-organized to investigate using convalescent plasma as a therapy for COVID 19.

"We are pleased to work with our colleagues and the nation to fight this pandemic every way we can as part of Mayo's patient-focused mission," Dr. Joyner says. "We believe this program, in extending access to this investigational treatment, is a hopeful therapeutic option. We anticipate a trickle of convalescent plasma for therapy will begin next week, with more available in the following weeks. We also will collect data so we can understand how best to use plasma to treat COVID-19."

The news release says physicians at any institution treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19 can register their patient's information at the website uscovidplasma.org.

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