The United States Food and Drug Authority or FDA was recently approved for using convalescent plasma to utilize for treatments against COVID-19, despite lack of data and discouragement by NIAID Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, discourages the use of the convalescent plasma despite its promising antibody-rich effects on humans. This is an effort to help in the battle against the Novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
Dr. Fauci is warning the FDA and other hospitals that use this kind of treatment and trials due to its "experimental" status and not having any proven facts. According to Stat News, several more medical and scientific experts oppose this authorization of the FDA due to the unknown risks that will befall the patients.
Experts say that the use of convalescent plasma "checks a few boxes" to help in the treatment of COVID-19 but does not foresee the full effects or entirety of what that type of treatment would bring.
The research group assigned and funded to do the study is Mayo Clinic and sponsored by the National Institute of Health. The Mayo Clinic gathered 35,000 patients infected by COVID-19, and each gave them a dose of the experimental convalescent plasma.
This process is a blood transfusion that is sourced from an extracted COVID-19 recovery patient to someone who has an active case. The theory is that if the patient takes in the blood and reacts well, antibodies would be produced on a large scale and develop an immunity against the virus.
The Real Effect of the Convalescent Plasma
Mayo Clinic published an article last June 2020, claiming that convalescent plasma is safe to be administered to patients. The study encompassed seven days that monitored 20,000 patients who signed up for the COVID expanded access program in cooperation with the US FDA.
From April 3 to 11, patients that were given the blood transfusion on the third day of their positive case resulted in an 8.7 percent mortality rate. However, patients who were given the plasma after four or more days of their case led to an 11.9 percent mortality rate. Stat News stated that the study achieved the standard of statistical significance for the transfusion.
The director of Memorial Sloan Kettering's Center for Health Policy and Outcomes, Peter Bach, says that there is "no way" to be utterly sure about the plasma's overall benefit. Bach noted that the development of the antibodies depends on the quality of plasma that was used.
He added that there was a case that developed a good number of antibodies all because that patient received a fairly antibody-rich plasma specimen.
Why is it being Doubted and Discouraged
Dr. Fauci, the head of the NIAID, together with NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, and Dr. Clifford Lane, was in doubt and skeptic of the FDA emergency authorization of the treatment, according to The Independent. While theories prove a promising take on the way to treating COVID-19, there are no sufficient and concrete answers to its effectivity.
Mayo Clinic is still conducting a randomized, placebo-control study to test the convalescent plasma treatment theory and effectivity. The use of a placebo-control group tests the plasma further and proves the theory that was initially claimed by the research group.
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Written by Isaiah Alonzo