FDA to Allow Physicians to Use Plasma Donated by Coronavirus Survivors to Treat Critically Ill Patients

NBC News (3/24, Hixenbaugh) reports, “The Food and Drug Administration will allow doctors across the country to begin using plasma donated by coronavirus survivors to treat patients who are critically ill with the virus, under new emergency protocols approved Tuesday.” The “decision comes a day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state’s health department planned to begin treating the sickest coronavirus patients with antibody-rich plasma extracted from the blood of those who’ve recovered.”

The Hill (3/24, Budryk) reports, “The FDA has approved emergency protocols that allow doctors to request permission on a case-by-case basis for coronavirus patients. The plasma treatment will be exclusively used for patients who are close to death, with the FDA responding to most requests within four to eight hours and doctors having the option to contact the FDA’s Office of Emergency Operations for more time-sensitive cases.”

NPR (3/24, Palca) called it “an unusual move,” and says that “there is scant evidence it works in people infected with the coronavirus, but the approach has been tried for other illnesses.” 

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