Published: Thu, March 26, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

FDA approves the first U.S. coronavirus treatment with recovered plasma

FDA approves the first U.S. coronavirus treatment with recovered plasma

"Due to the general health emergency caused by the ever-expanding" COVID-19 "outbreak, the FDA facilitates access to COVID-19 plasma for use in patients with a serious COVID-19 infection, or FDA said in a statement on its official website". That effort, officials said, would likely start in New Rochelle, the New York City suburb that was the center of the state's initial outbreak a few weeks ago, because of the concentration of people there who have already recovered.

Now a network of USA hospitals is waiting on permission from the Food and Drug Administration to begin large studies of the infusions both as a possible treatment for the sick and as vaccine-like temporary protection for people at high risk of infection. After the person recovers, those antibodies float in survivors' blood - specifically plasma, the liquid part of blood - for months, even years.

NY state is testing the treatment in clinical trials, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

The FDA is not approving using plasma as a treatment, instead using it as a clinical trial and for the treatment of those who are critically ill.

"What it does is it takes the plasma from a person who has been infected with the virus, processes the plasma and injects the antibodies into a person who is sick", Cuomo said.

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This does not include the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma for the prevention of infection.

The Food and Drug Administration will allow doctors across the country to begin using plasma donated by coronavirus survivors to treat patients who are critically ill with the virus under new emergency protocols approved Tuesday.

To see if it works, researchers would measure if the treatment gave patients a better chance of living or reduced the need for breathing machines.

. Furthermore, there are risks associated with the plasma transfusions, such as giving a patient the wrong type of blood or inadvertently transmitting other pathogens.

As of today, there is still no known cure for COVID-19. The technique has been around for centuries and was used during the 1918 flu pandemic.

Only time will tell whether this treatment has the capability to help reduce the virus' impact.

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