President Donald Trump announced Sunday the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19, which he called "powerful therapy" against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 176,000 Americans and severely hampered the U.S. economy, several media outlets have reported.
Trump described the authorization of the treatment as "a very historic breakthrough," usatoday.com reported.
"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. "Today's action will dramatically increase access to this treatment."
But Benjamin Corb, public affairs director with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, chastised the move by the Trump administration, saying, "President Trump, again, puts his political gains ahead of public health."
Trump is also claiming political manipulation from the left. USAtoday.com reported that the president, in a Saturday tweet, claimed without evidence that "the deep state" within the FDA is "making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd (the presidential election)."
The announcement comes just one day prior to the start of the Republican National Convention, which will be held online due to the spread of COVID-19.
FDA officials said the "known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product," reported CNN.com.
According to mayoclinic.org, convalescent plasma therapy is an experimental treatment that some doctors, since 2019, have used for people with severe coronavirus disease and that researchers hope it can be given to such patients to boost their ability to fight the virus. The website also says it might also help keep people who are moderately ill from becoming more ill and experiencing COVID-19 complications.
"People who've recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies—proteins the body uses to fight off infections—to the disease in their blood. The blood from people who've recovered is called convalescent plasma. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood," the Mayo Clinic site says.
Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are "encouraged by early promising data that we've seen and potentially helpful treatments for COVID-19 as quickly as possible in order to save lives," reported USAToday.com. The outlet also quoted former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who told CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday that "the blood plasma treatment Trump touted on Sunday has already been given to more than 70,000 patients, so it's available.'"
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