Reps. Peters, Wenstrup Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Raise Awareness of Live-Saving Plasma Donation Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) introduced legislation that encourages patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma to help further develop therapeutics and save lives. The Plasma Donation Awareness Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a public awareness campaign about the importance of convalescent plasma donations. The legislation enjoys bipartisan and bicameral support as Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Wicker (R-MS) have introduced identical legislation in the Senate.
“San Diegans ask what they can do during this time of crisis. For those who have recovered from coronavirus, a plasma donation can directly save lives and contributes to the science at work to develop treatments,” said Rep. Peters. “This legislation will ensure the public is aware of the demand for convalescent plasma. I thank Rep. Wenstrup for joining me in leading this bipartisan effort in the House.”
“Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can help saves the lives of those who are currently battling the virus. Our scientists and doctors are making great strides using antibodies in therapeutics and other treatments, however, they need a substantial supply of convalescent plasma to continue their important work,” said Rep. Wenstrup. “It’s crucial that we raise awareness on how the simple act of donating your plasma can help us save lives, beat the virus, and return to normal. I’m grateful to Congressman Peters for joining me in this important effort and urge my colleagues to join us in getting the word out.”
“The coronavirus pandemic is a national public health crisis, and it’s critical we work together to fight the virus,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “This legislation would help raise awareness about the importance of donating plasma as we work toward finding a vaccine and developing treatments.”
The lawmakers’ effort is supported by researchers at UC San Diego, whose work seeks to pinpoint the efficacy of plasma as part of a national effort approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The goal is to rely on a national network of hospitals and blood banks to collect, isolate, process and test whether plasma from COVID-19 survivors has therapeutic, preventive value.
“With convalescent plasma therapy, we want to act prophylactically, using a product with known high-titers (concentrations) of neutralizing antibodies,” said Edward Cachay, MD, an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego Health and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We want to learn how we can prevent sickness, how we can prevent COVID patients from needed mechanical ventilation, and how we can prevent them from dying from the disease.”