SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The FDA over the weekend issued an emergency use authorization for a controversial new treatment for COVID-19.
The FDA said the benefits of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks of the product. Convalescent plasma is taken from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19. The antibodies in the plasma, are said to help COVID patients fight off the virus.
A recent Mayo Clinic observational study showed promising results with this treatment.
But Mercy Medical Center and Baystate Health agree a lot more data is needed. Mercy’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Roose, told 22News that this treatment is still full of unknown variables to consider.
“I would not want to rush to conclusions and state that there are still unknowns, that should lead to additional review should be based on clinical trials and should be peer-reviewed,” said Dr. Roose.
Dr. Mark Keroack, Baystate Health president, said he expects alternative treatments will see more use than convalescent plasma.
Dr. Keroack told 22News, “I do feel comfortable that a year from now we will not be talking about convalescent plasma. Instead, we will be probably be talking about synthetically formulated antibodies, monocular antibodies that are much more effective.”
Mercy Medical Center participated in one of the few FDA approved clinical trials for convalescent plasma. Dr. Keroack also said they’ve used it for select cases at their hospitals.
Convalescent plasma actually goes back to the 1920s when it was used to fight against pneumonia before penicillin became available.