FDA authorizes convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19 patients
Washington, D.C. — The FDA has granted emergency authorization for a new COVID-19 treatment, President Trump announced on Sunday.
“Today I’m pleased to make a truly historic announcement,” said President Trump. “The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for a treatment known as convalescent plasma. This is a powerful therapy.”
Convalescent plasma has been used for years to help people fight diseases, especially when there is no vaccine available. In fact, it’s already been used to treat over 70,000 people with COVID-19.
However, this authorization will open up the doors for more use and more research.
“This is not the same as approval but it is an authorization,” said FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn. “It allows us to expand the access to this.”
When someone donates plasma, it’s more time-consuming, and the blood is pumped into a machine that separates the plasma out – a yellow liquid. If it comes from a recovered COVID-19 patient, it contains antibodies that could help someone else recover from the virus.
One study by Mayo Clinic looked at over 35,000 patients and found that convalescent plasma decreased mortality when provided soon after diagnosis. However, it wasn’t a formal study – rather – an “expanded access” program.
The chief scientist for the FDA, Denise Hinton, noted that “COVID-19 convalescent plasma should not be considered a new standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Additional data will be forthcoming from other analyses and ongoing, well-controlled clinical trials in the coming months.”
A spokesperson from Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland said that they have treated some of their COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma. According to Dr. Brian York, an infectious disease specialist at Kadlec, there is a need for convalescent plasma, and they are encouraging former COVID-19 patients to donate if they can. There is concern that supply is going to be an issue in the future now that the treatment is being fast-tracked by the FDA.
To make an appointment to donate plasma, click here.
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