The US Food and Drug Administration on Sunday issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19. “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. At the end of March, the FDA set up a pathway for scientists to try convalescent plasma with patients and study its impact. It has already been used to treat more than 60,000 Covid-19 patients.
Convalescent plasma is in limited supply and must come from donors. “The data we gathered suggests that patients who were treated early in their disease course, within three days of being diagnosed, with plasma containing high levels of antibodies, benefited the most from treatment. We saw about a 35% better survival in the patients who benefited most from the treatment,” US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. “The problem is, we don’t really have enough data to really understand how effective convalescent plasma is,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University and a CNN medical analyst, declared already. Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said he thought it likely the White House pressured the FDA.