What to know about emergency use authorization of convalescent plasma; how to help

The emergency use of unproven convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 is now approved by the FDA, but what does this emergency use authorization mean?

We start with one question that has two different answers.

Is convalescent plasma a live safer?

President Donald Trump says yes; “I am pleased to make a truly historic announcement in our battle against the China virus that will save countless lives.”

That’s what Mr. Trump said on Sunday, standing next to the FDA commissioner, Stephen Hahn, stating he authorized emergency use of convalescent plasma.

Hahn said, “If the data continues to pan out; of 100 people who are sick with COVID-19, 35 would have been saved because of the administration of plasma.”

Three days earlier, on Thursday, the FDA announced it would not grant emergency authorization, saying, there is little proof the treatment works against COVID-19.

Doctor Kirk Voeljer, the medical director at Sarasota Memorial, said the Mayo Clinic Trial is rare, in that everyone gets the plasma – no one gets a placebo.

“For us to really get an idea of whether it’s working you have to do a real clinical trial in which you compare it to people not receiving that medication,” Voeljer explained.

The reason the FDA allowed doctors to use convalescent plasma is because there is little risk.

MORE: Medical director says convalescent plasma treatments are helping COVID-19 patients turn the corner

As for the about-face.

The commissioner said, “This is not the same as approval, but it is an authorization. It allows us to expand the access to this.” Meaning, the FDA hopes COVID-19 survivors will step up and donate.

Doctors can use plasma treatment if they see fit and scientists can expand their research.

With this emergency use authorization, doctors will be allowed to treat even more patients with plasma, so the need will increase significantly.

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 you can follow the links below for more information on how to donate. Hospitals rely on a steady stream of plasma, and you can donate every 28 days.

How to donate:

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
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