Plasma from people who recovered from coronavirus can be used to treat Coronavirus.
Specifically, the FDA has said that the, “known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.”
What is Convalescent Plasma?
Convalescent plasma is plasma collected from patients who were infected with a disease and then recovered. Specifically what is being discussed here is convalescent plasma from those with COVID-19.
How is Convalescent Plasma Used to Treat Coronavirus?
Doctors harvest and test plasma and purify and harvest the antibodies. These antibodies can then be used to treat other patients who get COVID-19.
Is Convalescent Plasma an Effective Treatment for Coronavirus?
Although studies have been limited, a study by the Mayo Clinic showed that there was evidence that plasma transfusions were effective at treating those with serve COVID-19 symptoms soon after diagnosis. Specifically, it helped lower the expected death rate in these patients.
The study however was limited and did not include a placebo group.
NOTE: According to the BBC, “The FDA said people under the age of 80 who were not on a respirator and received plasma containing high levels of antibodies had a 35% better survival rate a month after the treatment than those who had received plasma with a low level of antibodies.”
Why Did the Treatment Get Approved so Quickly?
It is likely it was approved by the FDA given that plasma treatment is generally low risk, has been used for a long time and is safe, is easily prepared by local providers, and may help lead to other treatments like a vaccine, although the exact reasoning is somewhat speculative and based simply on the articles cited and video below which included insight from a doctor for example.
Find out where to Donate plasma.What Is Blood Convalescent Plasma Therapy?.
- US FDA announces emergency authorization for convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19. CNN.com.
- Is convalescent plasma safe and effective? We answer the major questions about the Covid-19 treatment. stratnews.com.
- Recommendations for Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma. FDA.Gov.
- US allows emergency use of blood plasma treatment for coronavirus patients. BBC.com.