The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking the lead on national efforts to facilitate the development of, and access to, two investigational therapies for COVID-19 derived from human blood, according to a release of the agency on Friday.
These two therapies are called convalescent plasma and hyperimmune globulin, and are antibody-rich blood products made from blood donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19, according to the FDA.
The products can be administered to individuals diagnosed with COVID-19.
"The FDA is launching a new national effort to bring blood-related therapies for COVID-19 to market as fast as possible," said Alex Azar, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Patients will be able to benefit from these promising new options in the coming weeks, he said.
"This is an important area of research -- the use of products made from a recovered patient's blood to potentially treat COVID-19 in those affected by this illness," said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.
The FDA had played a key role in organizing a partnership between industry, academic institutions, and government agencies to facilitate expanded access to convalescent plasma, he said.
The American Red Cross will help collect plasma and distribute it for use in patients across the country.
The FDA said it expects this collaborative effort will be able to move thousands of units of plasma to the patients who need them in the coming weeks.
The agency is also working with industry and its government partners to accelerate the development and availability of hyperimmune globulin for investigation for the potential COVID-19 treatment.
Hyperimmune globulin is a biological product manufactured from convalescent plasma.
The FDA called on American people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks to consider donating plasma.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has topped 266,000 as of Friday afternoon, with over 6,900 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.