(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump announced Sunday a new therapeutic that helps treat many individuals who have contracted COVID-19.
Trump said at a Sunday news conference that the treatment, which uses the blood plasma of those who have recovered from the novel coronavirus, is a “very historic breakthrough” in the fight against the respiratory disease.
“The FDA [Federal Drug Administration] has issued an emergency use authorization … for a treatment known as convalescent plasma,” Trump said at a Sunday night news conference. “This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very, very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection. It’s had an incredible rate of success.”
Trump said the emergency authorization will “dramatically improve access” to the treatment thanks to Operation Warp Speed, which reduces the bureaucratic red tape in approving new drugs.
“Based on the science and the data, the FDA has made the independent determination that the treatment is safe and very effective,” he said.
The president said the federal government authorized sending up to $270 million to the Red Cross and other blood centers to collect 260,000 units of plasma to help in the effort. He urged those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood.
“The data we gathered suggests that patients who were treated early in their disease course, within three days of being diagnosed, with plasma containing high levels of antibodies, benefited the most from treatment.” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at Sunday’s new conference. “We saw about a 35 percent survival in the patients who benefited most from the treatment, which were patients under 80, who were not on artificial respiration.”
Several potential vaccines are still in development.