FDA Approves Treatment That Would Let Doctors Inject Patients With Plasma From Those Recovered From Virus
FDA stressed that “convalescent plasma has not been shown to be effective in every disease studied." But it is a century-old treatment that has shown results against other diseases. “We won’t know until we do it, but the historical evidence is encouraging,” said Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins University. In other news, the slow mutation rate of the SARS-CoV-2 virus prompts optimism for a future vaccine.
The Associated Press:
Can Blood From Coronavirus Survivors Treat The Newly Ill?
Hospitals are gearing up to test if a century-old treatment used to fight off flu and measles outbreaks in the days before vaccines, and tried more recently against SARS and Ebola, just might work for COVID-19, too: using blood donated from patients who’ve recovered. Doctors in China attempted the first COVID-19 treatments using what the history books call “convalescent serum” -- today, known as donated plasma -- from survivors of the new virus. (Neergaard, 3/24)
The Wall Street Journal:
FDA Approves Plasma Treatment For Coronavirus On Conditional Basis
The treatment is considered investigational, and based on the possibility that the so-called convalescent plasma—a portion of whole blood from recovered victims—contains antibodies to the virus that may be effective against the infection. The agency stressed that “convalescent plasma has not been shown to be effective in every disease studied.” So the plan is for clinical studies of the procedure to begin, probably in about two weeks, FDA officials said. The agency said such research is necessary before routinely using such an approach to treat patients with Covid-19. (Burton, 3/24)
FDA Expediting Use Of A Blood Plasma Coronavirus Treatment As New York Rolls Out New Clinical Trials
The move is a "big step" forward, said Dr. Arturo Casadevall, chief of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who has advocated for the plasma treatment. "It has a high likelihood of working but we won't know whether it works until its done" and enough patients have been treated, he said. "We do know based on history it has a good chance."(Holcombe, Scannell and Gingras, 3/25)
The Washington Post:
Coronavirus Mutation Rate Is Good For Vaccine Development
The coronavirus is not mutating significantly as it circulates through the human population, according to scientists who are closely studying the novel pathogen’s genetic code. That relative stability suggests the virus is less likely to become more or less dangerous as it spreads, and represents encouraging news for researchers hoping to create a long-lasting vaccine. All viruses evolve over time, accumulating mutations as they replicate imperfectly inside a host’s cells in tremendous numbers and then spread through a population, with some of those mutations persisting through natural selection. (Achenbach, 3/24)