NIH Panel: "Insufficient" Data That Convalescent Plasma Treats COVID - 2020-09-01
Convalescent plasma is not proven to treat COVID-19, an NIH panel said Tuesday, undermining an emergency authorization issued by the FDA a week ago.
The panel of experts convened by the NIH said that there is "insufficient data" to show whether plasma is a safe, effective treatment, contradicting misleading claims that President Donald Trump and two top health officials recently made about plasma's benefits. Trump's remarks — in part that "the FDA has made the independent determination that the treatment is safe and very effective" — have led scientists to accuse the agency of buckling under a White House that wants to push the narrative that it is controlling the pandemic.
Coronavirus survivors' plasma — the liquid in blood that is left over when blood cells are removed — has raised hopes that its antibodies could offer other patients protection against the virus. On Aug. 23, when the FDA authorized convalescent plasma for hospitalized patients, Trump claimed that a Mayo Clinic study showed it "has proven to reduce mortality by 35%." Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, "I don't want you to gloss over this number."