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Trump administration issues emergency authorization use for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19

President Donald Trump speaks, accompanied by Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, center, during a media briefing in the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – President Trump issued FDA (Federal Drug Authorization) emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma to treat the coronavirus.

In a news conference on Sunday, the administration compared the treatment’s effectiveness to other drugs such as remdesivir, which has shown safety and effectiveness in treating coronavirus patients. 

Convalescent plasma is not a vaccine, officials say. However, it has been proven to be one of the most effective treatments for COVID-19 to date. 

“We dream in drug development of a 35% mortality rate reduction,” Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, said during the press conference. “This is a major advancement and convalescent plasma is just one more tool we’ve added in our battle to fight COVID-19.”

Convalescent plasma treatment is a transfusion treatment that occurs when a person who’s recovered from the coronavirus donates their antibodies to another patient as a way to help the infected person beat the disease.

It should not be underestimated, added Azar: “Blood from people who have already recovered has been used for diseases such as SARS, MERS, the flu and Ebola. If a person has been infected and recovered … this will help hundreds of thousands … if not millions of Americans.”

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has appeared in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and on Facebook @DrMaryGillis.