FDA OKs Extended-Release Exenatide for Children With T2D

The Food and Drug Administration has approved exenatide extended release (Bydureon/Bydureon BCise, AstraZeneca) for use in children with type 2 diabetes down to 10 years of age, the agency announced July 22.

Previously approved in adults, the injectable is now the second glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist approved for use in pediatric type 2 diabetes, after liraglutide (Victoza, Novo Nordisk) in 2019, and the first with once-weekly administration.

The two extended-release Bydureon products – which differ in delivery device and mixing procedure – are now indicated for use in addition to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in pediatric patients 10 years of age or older with type 2 diabetes.

Exenatide extended release is not recommended as first-line treatment following diet and exercise.

The approval was based on a 24-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 82 children with type 2 diabetes aged 10 and older. They were randomized to 2 mg once-weekly exenatide extended release or placebo. At week 24, hemoglobin A1c in those randomized to the drug had dropped by 0.25 percentage points, compared with a 0.45 percentage point increase in the placebo group.

Side effects were similar to those seen in adults, including injection site reactions, headaches, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Currently, metformin is the only oral medication approved for treating pediatric type 2 diabetes, while the injectables also include insulin in addition to the two GLP-1 receptor agonists. During a symposium held in June 2021 at the annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association, speakers expressed alarm about the rise in youth developing type 2 diabetes, noting that the condition typically progresses more rapidly and is less likely to respond well to metformin, compared with adults.

But, the panelists were also optimistic about extended-release exenatide as well as several other therapies for pediatric patients with type 2 diabetes in ongoing phase 3 trials, including the sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors dapagliflozin and empagliflozin, and the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors alogliptin and linagliptin. Results are expected in the next 1-2 years.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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Teen Mom OG's Cory, Cheyenne Butt Heads Over Him Leaving for 'The Challenge'

Cory Wharton and Cheyenne Floyd are crushing coparenting — but they still have their ups and downs while raising 4-year-old daughter Ryder.

Putting the Kids 1st! These Former Celeb Couples Are Crushing Coparenting

“It’s not always rainbows and butterflies,” the Michigan native, 30, said on the Thursday, July 23, episode of Us Weekly‘s “Watch With Us” podcast, noting that he and his fellow MTV personality, 28, butted heads over his decision to return to The Challenge for season 37, especially since Floyd was pregnant with baby No. 2 when he left. “We do have our fights and we do get into it.”

Wharton went on to say that they “always make sure that [their] focus is back on Ryder” when they get into disagreements.

‘Teen Mom’ Stars’ Best Quotes on Coparenting Over the Years

“I think this upcoming season [of Teen Mom OG], we start to see that it’s starting to affect Ryder a little bit, [the time of] me being away,” the Real World alum told Us. “That’s what I have to kind of take a step back and realize, ‘OK, I’m not going to be able to get this time back in my child’s life.’ It’s a hard decision. It’s like, do you take this work opportunity and this great chance that you have or do you be there for your family? It’s a tough decision for sure.”

Since the personal trainer did choose to compete on The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies, he had a far different experience than his costars Nelson [Thomas] and Fessy [Shafaat], “who get to just check in with themselves and then get to go and … enjoy themselves.”

Wharton explained, “I have a lot of people at home that depend on me. So when I go to The Challenge, I’m clocking into work. I’m away from my family. … It’s hard on a lot of people.”

The Ex on the Beach alum is also the father of daughter Mila, 15 months, with Taylor Selfridge. As for Floyd, she is engaged to Zach Davis, and the pair share son Ace, 1 month.

Wharton and Davis, 30, both “understand their place in that situation,” Floyd exclusively told Us in January of coparenting.

Celebrity Babies of 2021: See Which Stars Gave Birth

“Zach acknowledges that we choose to do things as a family for Ryder,” the Are You the One? alum told Us at the time. “Cory and Zach have their own relationship and have had their chats and everyone’s still alive. So I guess it’s good. … If there’s an issue, we talk about it and move on. So things from the past? Really not a problem.”

While raising Ryder together seemed “overwhelming” at first, Floyd noted that she and Wharton have “mastered” their dynamic and don’t “hold grudges.”

The Challenge 37 premieres on MTV Wednesday, August 11, at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Emily Longeretta

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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine gets EU regulator endorsement for teens

(Reuters) -Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine could become the second shot okayed for adolescent use in the European Union after regulators on Friday recommended approving it for 12- to 17-year-olds.

FILE PHOTO: An employee shows the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital in New York, U.S., December 21, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Use of the vaccine, Spikevax, will be the same in adolescents as in people over 18, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said, adding the shot produced a comparable antibody response to that seen in 18- to 25-year-olds.

Vaccinating children has been considered important for reaching herd immunity and in light of the highly contagious Delta variant. Moderna in May said its vaccine was found to be safe and effective in teenagers.

The EMA said the two-dose vaccine is given four weeks apart, and its human medicines committee’s recommendation was based on a study of 3,732 participants.

Most children with COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms or none. Yet children remain at risk of becoming seriously ill and can spread the virus. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech’s vaccine was approved for teen use in May.

The regulator said common side effects in teenagers after vaccination with Spikevax were similar to those seen in older people. But due to a smaller study size, the trial could not detect new uncommon side effects or estimate the risk of known ones such as myocarditis and pericarditis.

“The overall safety profile of Spikevax determined in adults was confirmed in the adolescent study; the CHMP (Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use) therefore considered that the benefits of Spikevax in children aged 12 to 17 outweigh the risks,” the EMA said here.

Heart inflammation such as myocarditis and pericarditis have been listed by the EMA as a possible, but rare side effect from use of mRNA vaccines such as Moderna’s and Pfizer’s in adults.

Spikevax is already being used in the European Union for people over 18, and in the United States and Canada. The company has also sought authorisation in the United States and Canada for use in adolescents.

Formal approval from the European Commission would be needed to start rolling out the vaccine for teenagers.

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A new mathematical model assesses ICU patients mortality risk

hospital patient

A research team has developed a new machine learning-based model that predicts the risk of mortality of intensive care unit patients according to their characteristics. The research was published in the latest edition of the journal Artificial Intelligence in Medicine.

Under the framework of artificial intelligence, machine learning allows a model to gain knowledge based on the information provided by available historical data, and automatically modifies its information when new information appears. One of the current challenges is the creation of models with which to make personalized medical predictions, and one of the areas in which artificial intelligence can be of great help is in deciding how to proceed with intensive care unit (ICU) patients. This process is complex and comes at a high cost, and depends on the inherent variability of the opinion of specialists, based on their experience and instinct. Therefore, to improve the quality of care in the ICUs, it is important to set down protocols based on objective data and on an accurate prediction of a patient’s risk of mortality according to their characteristics. In this sense, machine learning tools may be of great help to medical experts.

The researchers, led by Dr. Rosario Delgado from the Department of Mathematics of the UAB, in collaboration with Head of the ICU at Hospital de Mataró Dr. Juan Carlos Yébenes, UAB associate lecturer Àngel Lavado from the Information Management Unit of the Maresme Health Consortium, and José David Núñez-González, Ph.D. student of the UAB Department of Mathematics, used machine learning tools to create a model capable of predicting the risk of mortality of ICU patients, based on a real database which also served to validate the model. The model will aid in the decision-making process of healthcare workers by improving the prediction of premature deaths, making medical decisions about high-risk patients more efficient, evaluating the effectiveness of new treatments and detecting changes in clinical practices.

The use of this model represents a clear improvement in traditional approaches, consistent with predicting the risk of mortality based on the Acute Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) score—a questionnaire widely used to assess a person’s state of health with the help of different indicators. The new model makes use of an estimated logistical regression that was validated in previous groups of patients. Researchers were able to demonstrate experimentally that the new model they created overcomes the weak points of traditional approaches, offering good results and presenting itself as a better alternative.

The predictive self-learning prognosis model created by researchers consists in a set of Bayesian classifiers used by assigning a life prognosis label (live or die) to each individual, according to traits such as demography, gender and age; the Charlson comorbidity index; their place of origin; the cause of admission; the presence or lack of sepsis; severity reached in the first 24 hours after aadmission; and the APACHE II score.

Researchers improved the model’s prediction through a combination of individual predictions of each classifier designed in a way that the faults of some predictions could be compensated with other correct predictions, and taking into account the imbalance represented by a low proportion of patients dying in the ICUs. The model predicts the cause of death of patients at a high risk, as well as the outcome of patients at a low risk of dying. This type of model is known as a hierarchical predictive model, given that there are two stages of prediction.

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Bharat Biotech terminates Covaxin deal with Brazil's Precisa

FILE PHOTO: Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a dose of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN, during a vaccination campaign at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Bharat Biotech has terminated a memorandum of understanding to sell its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin to Brazil’s Precisa Medicamentos, the Indian company said on Friday without disclosing the reason.

Bharat’s statement said it will continue to work with Brazilian healthcare regulator Anvisa to obtain all required approvals for the use of Covaxin in the country.

There have been allegations in Brazil of irregularities in the government’s efforts to buy 20 million doses of the vaccine using Precisa as an intermediary.

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Man almost masturbates himself to death

Single Japanese man, 51, almost masturbates himself to death after suffering a stroke moments after he ejaculated

  • Right-handed man in Germany had a life-threatening stroke while masturbating
  • Subarachnoid haemorrhage usually happens during physical effort
  • An expert told MailOnline sexual activity accounts for up to 14% of the strokes

A single Japanese man almost died from masturbating, according to a medical case report.

Doctors claimed the 51-year-old, who they didn’t identify, enjoyed pleasuring himself several times a day.

But his habit nearly killed him on one occasion last year, after he suffered a stroke just moments after ejaculating. 

The NHS says the stroke the man suffered can be triggered by having sex, coughing and even going to the toilet. 

The man was instantly struck down with agonising ‘thunderclap’ headaches after he climaxed, and later began vomiting.

A CT scan (pictured) showed the man’s brain bleed. The white material indicated by red arrows is fresh blood that should not be present. Those spaces should be filled by cerebrospinal fluid, which looks like area marked by the blue arrow 

The arrow points to the 51-year-old’s aneurysm, which occurred at the base of the brain in the left internal carotid artery. The carotid arteries are the main blood vessels that supply the head and neck

A subarachnoid haemorrhage is an uncommon type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain. It’s a very serious condition and can be fatal.

Subarachnoid haemorrhages account for around one in every 20 strokes in the UK.

There are usually no warning signs, but a subarachnoid haemorrhage sometimes happens during physical effort or straining, such as coughing, going to the toilet or lifting something heavy.

Symptoms:

  • A sudden agonising headache – which is often described as being similar to a sudden hit on the head, resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
  • A stiff neck
  • Feeling and being sick
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Stroke-like symptoms – such as slurred speech and weakness on one side of the body
  • Loss of consciousness or convulsions (uncontrollable shaking)

Treatment: A person with a suspected subarachnoid haemorrhage needs a CT scan in hospital to check for signs of bleeding around the brain.

If a diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage is confirmed or strongly suspected, you’re likely to be transferred to a specialist neurosciences unit.

Medication will usually be given to help prevent short-term complications, and a procedure to repair the source of the bleeding may be carried out.

Source: NHS

Concerned about his sudden symptoms, he took himself to Nagoya City University Hospital.

Doctors noticed he had low blood pressure and was disorientated – which are two tell-tale signs of a stroke.

Medics carried out a CT scan on his brain, to find the root cause of his symptoms. 

Results revealed he had endured a subarachnoid haemorrhage – a life-threatening type of stroke that was caused by a blood vessel in his brain rupturing.

The man survived his ordeal, and was discharged after nearly two weeks in hospital in an ‘excellent’ condition. 

Dr Masahiro Oomura and colleagues, who published the case report, offered no explanation as to why he may have suffered a stroke from masturbating. 

But the NHS says the brain bleeds can happen as a result of physical exertion, such as lifting something heavy or having sex. 

There are around 4,800 cases of subarachnoid haemorrhages every year in the UK and are most common in people aged between 45 and 70. 

If the haemorrhage is not the result of a head injury, they are most often caused by a burst blood vessel in the brain called a brain aneurysm.

Dr Daniel Walsh, a consultant cerebrovascular neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, told MailOnline that the ruptured aneurysm which caused the patient’s stoke is thought to be linked with a sudden increase in blood pressure.

This is ‘something characteristic’ in sexual activity, he said. 

Sexual activity of various kinds, including masturbation, has been linked to between 3.8 per cent and 14 per cent of all subarachnoid haemorrhage cases, he said.

Taking drugs like Viagra or cocaine during sex can increase the risk of having this type of stroke, Dr Walsh explained.  

Dr Walsh said: ‘On a positive note, you will probably do more to prevent having a subarachnoid haemorrhage by avoiding smoking, recreational drugs and managing elevated blood pressure with your GP than abstaining from sex in all its forms.’

It comes after a 22-year-old student in Taiwan died from a stroke while having sex with his girlfriend in 2017.

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U.S. administers 336.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC

FILE PHOTO: Doses of Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines are seen in a mass vaccination site supported by the federal government at the Miami Dade College North Campus in Miami, Florida, U.S., March 10, 2021. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

(Reuters) – The United States has administered 336,054,953 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Thursday morning and distributed 388,738,495 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

Those figures are up from the 335,487,779 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by July 14 out of 388,295,385 doses delivered.

The agency said 185,135,757 people had received at least one dose while 160,408,538 people are fully vaccinated as of Thursday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Thursday.

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Bachelor's Ashley Iaconetti Says Pregnancy Acne Has 'Hit Hard'

Sharing her symptoms. Ashley Iaconetti gave a candid look at how her skin has changed amid her first pregnancy.

BiP’s Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon’s Relationship Timeline

“The pregnancy acne hit hard this week,” the Bachelor alum, 33, captioned a Monday, July 19, Instagram Story video. “Two weeks ago, I was almost completely clear. I’ve never had forehead acne before.”

In addition to showing her face from all angles, the Virginia native gave a glimpse of her signature daily activity: binging Grey’s Anatomy on the couch.

These ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’ Babies Will Melt Your Heart

“I would give you more content and document my day, but this is pretty much what makes up my very day,” the Bachelor in Paradise alum joked. “Just sitting on the couch trying to get through it. I do all my work from the couch too when I’m not stalling. [Jade Roper] told me the first trimester is really all about surviving. And that coming from someone so strong means a lot to me!”

The Bachelor: Winter Games alum and her husband, Jared Haibon, announced on Thursday, July 15, that their first child is on the way, and Iaconetti exclusively told Us Weekly about her “persistent” morning sickness.

“I can’t do anything,” the journalist explained to Us. “Crackers and ginger ale, that’s just total BS. I need … carbs. Like, I wake up, I have a short stack of pancakes, five out of seven mornings. Grilled cheese, anything greasy and heavy is what would help the best.”

On Saturday, July 18, the expectant star posted a silly selfie, writing, “My 98-year-old grandmother told me, if I find myself getting uglier throughout my pregnancy, I’m having a girl. If I find myself becoming more beautiful, I’m having a boy. So what do you guys think I’m having?”

Roper, 34, commented, “We are going with a girl,” while fellow Bachelor Nation member Amanda Stanton wrote, “I have two girls and can confirm your grandma is correct.” As for Married at First Sight’s Jamie Otis, she replied, “You’re [sic] grandma ain’t wrong, but honestly, I looked just as bad with my boy — maybe even worse!”

Singer DaniLeigh and More Celebrity Pregnancy Announcements of 2021

Haibon, 32, sweetly wrote, “The only ugly thing in this photo is that Giants shirt.”

The Rhode Island native has been doting on Iaconetti, the Bachelorette alum exclusively told Us on Thursday. “I’m doing as much as she wants to,” he explained. “I’m here for whatever she needs, like … going to CVS.”

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Delta Variant Drives Rising COVID Case Counts in Every State

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The number of COVID-19 cases is going up in every state as the Delta variant continues to spread across the nation.

An analysis by The New York Times of data from state and local health agencies showed a 7-day average of about 28,000 new cases a day on Thursday, a major jump from around 11,000 daily cases on June 20. That’s still better than the last surge in January, when there was a 7-day average of about 255,000 new cases a day.

“This will definitely be a surge,” Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told the Times. “It won’t be as big as what happened in January. But we still have 100 million people in the United States who are susceptible to COVID-19.”

The CDC says the Delta variant is now responsible for about 59% of new COVID-19 infections in the nation.

Hospitalizations are not nearly as high as during the dark days of January, but they’re rising from last month, especially in areas with low vaccination rates.

In Springfield, MO, health officials are seeking state funding to set up a field hospital to handle the overflow of patients, USA Today reported. That was a tactic used in California during the worst days of the pandemic.

“Over the past week, we have seen dramatic increases in COVID-19-related cases,” said Katie Towns, the interim Greene County, MO, Health Department director. “We need help.”

Less than half of the adults in Missouri are fully vaccinated, according to the Times.

The Times said new cases are up 70% in the last 2 weeks in Mississippi, where only 43% of adults are vaccinated. That’s the lowest rate in the nation.

The Mississippi State Department of Public Health is now advising everybody over 12 to get vaccinated, all people to wear masks when indoors in public areas, and everybody over 65 to avoid indoor mass gatherings — whether they’re vaccinated or not.

National health officials keep urging people to get vaccinated, especially because the three vaccines given emergency use authorization have been shown to give strong protection against the Delta variant.

But vaccine hesitancy remains, especially in the Southern and Midwestern states.

The Times said only about 530,000 people in the U.S. are being vaccinated a day, down from 3.3 million a day in April. Less than half the U.S. is fully vaccinated, the CDC says, though 79% of people over 65 — the most vulnerable demographic — are fully vaccinated.

“In March, people flooded to our vaccination sites — all we had to do was open a door,” Ben Weston, MD, the director of medical services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management in Wisconsin, told the Times. “Now we have to go out and find people.”

About 48% of people in Milwaukee County are fully vaccinated, The Times reported.

L.A. County Makes Indoor Masking Mandatory

Los Angeles County public health officials are once again making face masks in indoor public places mandatory — not just advisable — regardless of a person’s vaccination status. The new masking order takes effect Saturday.

Because of the Delta variant, case counts have soared since the state government reopened the economy on June 15, L.A. County Public Health said in a news release.

The Health Department reported 210 new COVID cases on June 15, compared to 1,537 new cases on Thursday — the highest number since mid-March. Thursday’s test positivity rate was 3.7%, up from .5% on June 15.

The Delta variant accounted for 71% of all sequenced cases from June 27 to July 3, the Health Department said.

“We expect to keep masking requirements in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19,” L.A. County Health Officer Muntu Davis, MD, said in the release.

Sacramento and Yolo counties in California are now recommending, but not requiring, that residents wear masks in indoor public places, according to SFGate. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week there was no immediate plan for a statewide requirement.

Austin, TX, Brings Back COVID Protocols

Because of a surge in infections, the city of Austin, TX, is returning to Stage 3 protocols, the city government said in a news release.

The city recommends that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people wear masks at indoor and outdoor gatherings or while dining, shopping, and traveling. People who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and considered high-risk should avoid those activities altogether.

Vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks during those activities, the news release said.

“While the Delta variant has likely been circulating in our area for a while, we now have confirmation through sequencing that it is here,” said Desmar Walkes, MD, the health authority for Austin-Travis County.

“Disturbingly, we are now experiencing a rise in COVID hospitalizations that could overwhelm our city’s ICUs. Almost all these hospitalizations involve those who have not been vaccinated. This is a plea for people to become vaccinated, so we do not put our ICU capacity at risk,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in the news release.

But the Texas Tribune pointed out that the Stage 3 guidelines don’t carry the weight of law. Last May, Gov. Greg Abbott banned pandemic mandates.

MLB Game Postponed After Six Yankees Test Positive

A Thursday game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees was postponed when six Yankee players tested positive for COVID-19, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, according to CNN.

“We have three positives, and we have three pending that we’ve had rapid tests on,” Cashman said. The rapid tests are being confirmed with other tests, he said.

The three players with confirmed positive tests were all vaccinated, he said. In March, eight “breakthrough” cases were reported with the Yankees.

Sources

The New York Times: “After a Steep Plunge in Virus Cases, Every State Is Seeing an Uptick,” “See How Vaccinations Are Going in Your County and State.”

USA Today: “Health leaders ask for funding to set up ‘alternate care site’ as hospitals strain under new COVID-19 infections.”

Mississippi State Department of Public Health: “Preventing COVID-19: Recommendations and Requirements.”

L.A. County Public Health: “L.A. County Community Transmission of COVID-19 Increases from Moderate to Substantial; Reinstating Masking Indoors for Everyone — 1,537 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and 3 Deaths.”

SFGate: “LA County requires masks again, 2 California counties recommend.”

City of Austin: “COVID-19 News Update.”

Texas Tribune: “Austin announces stricter coronavirus protocols for unvaccinated residents as cases increase. But it can’t legally enforce them.”

CNN: “Game postponed after 6 New York Yankees have tested positive for Covid-19, team says.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2021/07/14/missouri-delta-variant-surge-springfield-health-leaders-seek-covid-alternate-care-site-hospitals/7969633002/

https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,21866,420.html#prevention

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/phcommon/public/media/mediapubhpdetail.cfm

recommend ithttps://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Yolo-County-face-mask-recommendation-16316894.php

https://www.austintexas.gov/news/austin-public-health-moves-stage-3-risk-based-guidelines

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/07/15/coronavirus-texas-austin-protocols/

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/16/us/new-york-yankees-covid-tests-spt/index.html

https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20210514/new-york-yankees-report-8-breakthrough-covid-cases

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Plasma donors needed in the UK: you can save a life

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This “liquid gold” is vital to make antibody medicines that can be lifesaving for people with immune disorders.

Donation was halted in 1998 as a precaution due to the risk of spreading vCJD, the human equivalent of mad cow disease.

After experts decided the threat had fallen, donation was restarted in April. But NHS Blood and Transplant found only 23 percent of the public were aware they could help, sparking an appeal for 14,500 new donors.

Dr Gail Miflin, of NHSBT, said: “The long period without plasma donation in the UK means that while plasma donation is widely recognised in other countries, it has become unfamiliar to people here.

Demand

“We need the public’s help to expand our pool of plasma donors and meet the targets that will help make England more self-sufficient in the supply of these life-saving medicines.”

Around 17,000 people a year receive antibody medicines known as immunoglobulins.

For the past 20 years, the UK has relied on imports, mainly the US, but global demand is increasing.

Dr Susan Walsh, boss of family support charity Immunodeficiency UK, said: “Immunoglobulin is made from human plasma and up to now the UK has been 100 percent reliant on plasma supplies from overseas. Removing the ban on the use of UK plasma means the UK can start to become more self-sufficient in producing immunoglobulin products.

“This is a tremendous step forward as it increases the security of supply of the treatment so many people rely upon to help keep life-threatening infections at bay.

“Please support this campaign and donate plasma, you are saving lives.”

The NHS has 8,627 active plasma donors in its new network but had hoped to have 15,000 by now.

It is appealing for 14,500 people to start donating within three months and will call on the public to “join the donor pool” over the summer.

The Association of British Neurologists said there had been shortages because of technical manufacturing reasons and high demand outstripping supply when we relied on imports.

A spokesman added: “In the serious, and sometimes life-threatening, neurological conditions of Guillain-Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis and other rarer diseases, we rely on a ready supply of immunoglobulin to treat our patients.

“The potential to donate plasma in the UK is a very welcome development and we would encourage as many people as possible to consider plasma donation.”

To donate, click here or call 0300 123 23 23

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