FDA Allows Doctors To Treat Coronavirus Patients With Blood From Survivors

Henrietta Strickland
March 25, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration will allow doctors across the country to begin using plasma donated by coronavirus survivors to treat patients who are critically ill with the virus under new emergency protocols approved Tuesday. The technique has been around for centuries and was used during the 1918 flu pandemic.

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.

Health officials in China and NY believe that the treatment, which involves harvesting virus-fighting antibodies from the blood of recovered patients, could be used to combat the deadly virus at the center of a global pandemic. In turn, this can be infused into people who are still fighting the virus to help contribute to the body's immune response. Researchers would then harvest antibodies against the new coronavirus from the plasma, and these antibodies would then be injected into people sick with COVID-19.

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.

"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 FDA said.

However, this treatment is not completely guaranteed to work. Furthermore, there are risks associated with the plasma transfusions, such as giving a patient the wrong type of blood or inadvertently transmitting other pathogens. The agency said they will only approve the experimental treatment for patients who are in critical condition. Well, doctors in NY will soon test an experimental therapy for COVID-19 that is over a century old, and uses blood from people who recover from the disease.

Only time will tell whether this treatment has the capability to help reduce the virus' impact.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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