July 30 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump and White House health officials on Thursday called on Americans that have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood plasma in an effort to help treat coronavirus patients.
He encouraged virus survivors to visit coronavirus.gov to volunteer to donate their convalescent blood plasma.
"If you've had the virus, if you donate it would be a terrific thing," Trump said. "We really need donations of the plasma. To those that have had the virus: You've gotten through it and I guess that means you have something special there."
The president attended a roundtable at the American Red Cross headquarters on Thursday accompanied by coronavirus experts including National Institutes of Health leaders Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci, White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn to discuss the treatment.
Last month, Mayo Clinic researchers reported that 20,000 COVID-19 patients deemed at risk for progressing to a severe or life-threatening condition saw their risk of death drop from 12% to 9% a week after receiving plasma therapy.
Fewer than 1% of those involved in the study experienced side effects, researchers added.
The FDA has not approved or authorized the treatment for use but Hahn said the agency is reviewing the data.
"We've seen that this is a safe treatment and we're encouraged by the early promising data that we've seen," Hahn said.