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KPBS Midday Edition

How Effective Is Plasma To Treat COVID-19?

A doctor holds a donation of convalescent plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient in this May 13, 2020, file photo.
Arnulfo Franco / AP
A doctor holds a donation of convalescent plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient in this May 13, 2020, file photo.
Plasma is being used to treat coronavirus patients here and across the country, with fresh encouragement from the FDA. But do plasma treatments work?

Doctors across San Diego have used convalescent plasma to treat hundreds of COVID-19 patients.

Demand for the therapy is expected to surge after a controversial move by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA recently announced that convalescent plasma — the liquid part of blood that contains antibodies from donors who have recovered from an illness — can be used as an emergency treatment for COVID-19.

But it's effectiveness against the virus isn't clear. This week, the National Institute of Health said there's no evidence to support the use of plasma for the treatment of COVID-19.

RELATED: Trump Wanted FDA To Fast-Track Blood Plasma Therapy. What Is It?

Reporter Jonathan Wosen, who covers the biotech industry for The San Diego Union-Tribune, has looked into plasma therapy and joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to share his reporting.