Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated its guidelines around the use of experimental remedies for the continuing COVID-19 pandemic to include use of "convalescent plasma", in cases where the patient's life is immediately threatened.
The method has been used for decades to treat infectious diseases, with the goal of transferring newly acquired immunity from one person to another.
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. This process involves the collection of plasma from recovered patients' blood, which contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. "If you knew that, you know who is now immune to the virus and could be sent back to work".
Henderson is part of a nationwide network of doctors and researchers, led by a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who have been working to establish protocols for use of plasma to treat those suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. And past studies indicate that proactive infusions of convalescent plasma might also be effective in protecting front line health care workers from becoming seriously ill.
"It's a trial for people who are in serious condition, but the New York 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", he said".
Regardless of a lack of completed medical trials, the FDA has granted this momentary authorization under its Investigational New Drug Applicants exclusion, in mild of the extent and nature of the present public health menace that COVID-19 represents.
Further clinical trials are still needed to address questions about the treatment before being routinely administered, such as its effect in COVID-19 patients of varying severity and its use as a preventative measure for people in close contact with confirmed cases.
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.
Only time will tell whether this treatment has the capability to help reduce the virus' impact.
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