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FDA will allow doctors to use convalescent plasma to treat critical COVID-19 patients

Published on 26/03/20 at 11:26am
Photo by FDA

The FDA have announced they will allow doctors to use convalescent plasma, collected from people who recovered from COVID-19, to treat those who are in critical condition from the virus.

Although there is not much evidence that this is an effective treatment, the FDA believe that because this plasma contains antibodies against the virus it could help patients suffering from the disease. The use of convalescent plasma has been studied and utilized in other pandemics like the H1N1 flu pandemic, and also to treat other coronavirus epidemics like SARS and MERS.

The type of patients who will be treated are those suffering from low blood oxygen levels, poor respiratory frequency and other serious complications.

The FDA said that it will allow doctors to use the plasma procedure through the process of emergency investigational New Drug Applications. However, doctors will not be allowed to use this plasma as a prevention for the infection

In its guidance the FDA said: “Although promising, convalescent plasma has not been shown to be effective in every disease studied. It is therefore important to determine through clinical trials, before routinely administering convalescent plasma to patients with COVID-19, that it is safe and effective to do so.”

There are also strict guidelines for the blood used in this procedure. A patient can only donate if they are eligible to donate blood and have had a laboratory test to confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19.

While New York state is working with an unammed pharmaceutical company on clinical trials using this type of plasma, Takeda is working on developing a treatment for COVID-19 using the blood of recovered patients.

Conor Kavanagh

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