WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says the Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.
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Trump, announcing the decision Sunday at the White House, called convalescent plasma a “powerful therapy.” He says the FDA’s action will expand access to the treatment, which is already being used. The treatment involves transferring antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients to patients suffering from the disease.
On Sunday, Trump said the administration have provided $48 million to fund the Mayo Clinic study that studied the efficiency in patients that have the virus.
"Through this study, over 100,000 Americans have already enrolled to receive this treatment, and it is proven to reduce mortality by 35%," Trump said. "It's a tremendous number. The FDA, M.I.T., Harvard, and Mount Sinai Hospital have also found convalescent plasma to be a very effective method of fighting this horrible disease. Based on the science and the data, the FDA has made the independent determination that the treatment is safe and very effective."
Trump also announced the administration provided up to $270 million to the American Red Cross and America's blood centers to support the collection of up to 360,000 units of plasma.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that patients with the virus who were treated within three days of being diagnoses benefited the most from the treatment.
"We saw about a 35% under survival in the patients who benefited most from the treatment, who were patients under 80 and not on artificial respiration," Azar said.
The announcement follows days of suggestions by White House officials of politically motivated delays by the FDA in approving a vaccine and treatments for the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Trump made the announcement on the eve of the Republican National Convention that will nominate him to run against Democrat Joe Biden.