President Donald Trump held a press conference Sunday to make a significant announcement in the ongoing fight against coronavirus: The FDA is issuing an emergency use authorization (EUA) to use convalescent plasma for COVID patients.
CNN reports on the move:
The US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the use of convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19 on Sunday, saying the “known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.”
The FDA said more than 70,000 patients had been treated convalescent plasma, made using the blood of people who have recovered from coronavirus infections.
“Today I am pleased to make a truly historic announcement in our battle against the China virus that will save countless lives,” President Trump said at a White House briefing. “Today’s action will dramatically increase access to this treatment.”
So-called convalescent plasma is among a host of potential therapeutics that have been undergoing testing in clinical trials. The hope is that infusions of antibody-rich plasma from those who have recovered from Covid-19 can be injected into ill patients, kickstarting their immune system and allowing them to fight off the virus until they can generate their own antibodies.
“Today’s action will dramatically expand access to this treatment,” Trump said at a White House news conference Sunday afternoon. He called the EUA a “truly historic announcement” and said that convalescent plasma has been proven to reduce mortality by 35%, which he called a “tremendous number.”
Trump thanked FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, adding, “The FDA really stepped up, and especially over the last few days in getting this done.”
Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, followed Trump. “We dream in drug development of something like a 35% mortality reduction,” he said. “This is a major advance in the treatment of patients.”
Using convalescent plasma requires donors who have recovered from COVID to donate their plasma. President Trump has been calling for plasma donors for several weeks.
You can read the FDA’s EUA letter here.