FDA Approves Use of Blood From Survivors to Treat COVID-19
26 March, 2020, 19:57
"Given the public health emergency that the expanding COVID-19 outbreak presents, while clinical trials are being conducted, FDA is facilitating access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma for use in patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections", the statement said.
The method has been used for decades to treat infectious diseases, with the goal of transferring newly acquired immunity from one person to another.
The state is hoping to fight the rapidly spreading disease by collecting blood from recovered COVID-19 patients and injecting it into people still fighting it, NBC News reports.
"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. The agency said they will only approve the experimental treatment for patients who are in critical condition. For patients who require treatment faster, doctors can call the FDA's Office of Emergency Operations to get approval over the phone. Use of plasma, via direct transfusion into a patient, like every other recommended vaccine for COVID-19 (and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes it), has not undergone the medical research needed to indicate that it's safe and efficient in combating the disease.
If the treatment does prove effective, experts have suggested it could be used proactively to give healthcare workers protection from the virus. The Researchers will then evaluate whether convalescent plasma improves disease outcomes.
The state Health Department is working with health care agencies to set up the trials.
In New York, health officials said they plan to begin recruiting patients this week who have fully recovered from COVID-19.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that trials would be starting in his state, most likely in New Rochelle, where a large number of cases were discovered and several people already have recovered. "It's a trial for people who are in serious condition, but the NY state Department of Health has been working on this with some of New York's best health care agencies, and we think it shows promise, and we're going to be starting that this week".