New Delhi: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has permitted the emergency investigational use of blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 as a possible antidote for the deadly disease.
“As there are no approved treatments, FDA is permitting the emergency investigational use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. The treatment involves the use of convalescent plasma collected from recovered COVID-19 patients,” the FDA stated.
Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from an infection. Antibodies present in it are proteins that might help fight the infection.
Use of convalescent plasma was also studied in outbreaks of other respiratory infections, including the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, and the 2012 MERS-CoV epidemic.
The federal agency added, “There is some information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19.”
It is possible that convalescent plasma contains antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 and might be effective against the infection.
“It is important to determine through clinical trials, before routinely administering convalescent plasma to patients with COVID-19, that it is safe and effective to do so.”
FDA stated that the plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals, if they are eligible to donate blood. “A physician should contact their local blood center to inquire about obtaining convalescent plasma from a recovered donor.”
The agency, however, warned of possible side effects of the plasma transfusions. “It is generally safe and well-tolerated by most patients, but can cause allergic reactions and other side effects.
FDA is working with its government partners including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop master protocols for use by multiple investigators in order to coordinate the collection and use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma.