On Sunday, President Donald Trump announced that the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 for emergency use.
The president held a White House press conference Sunday evening to discuss the new development.
“This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very, very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection,” Trump said. “It’s had an incredible rate of success.”
It was explained that convalescent plasma is taken from blood donated from patients that have recovered from COVID-19, with this new treatment.
The FDA categorizes convalescent plasma as an “investigative product” but now it has the green light to be used in extreme cases thanks to this decision.
When asked about the difficulties of getting FDA approval on certain methods to combat coronavirus, President Trump said, “We broke the logjam over the last week.”
Trump also thanked FDA administrator Dr. Steven Hahn for his leadership on the convalescent plasma development.
“It is only made possible because of Operation Warp Speed. That is, everybody working together,” Trump said citing his administration’s effort to escalate the mission to find COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.
Trump said this project has put drug and medical method approvals years ahead of schedule.
“We are removing unnecessary barriers and delays, not by cutting corners, but by marshaling the full power of the federal government,” Trump emphasized.
Dr. Hahn explained that the Mayo Clinic in April administered convalescent plasma treatment to over 70,000 people.
“This is one of the largest expanded access programs in the history of FDA, so a very successful approach to evaluating how convalescent plasma would work,” Hahn said.
Hahn added that before approving the treatment, scientists at the FDA evaluated both the data from the program and a number of other studies.
“In the optimal patients… treated with convalescent plasma at the highest tiers there was a 35 percent improvement in survival,” Hahn said.
“We’re waiting for more data, and we’re going to continue gathering more data,” Hahn insisted, “but this clearly meets the criteria we’ve established for the emergency use authorization and we’re very pleased with these results.”
Hahn also encouraged blood donations from those who have recovered from COVID-19.
“If you’ve recovered from Covid-19, please donate, you could save a life,” Dr. Hahn said.
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