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FDA Developing Coronavirus Treatment From Blood of Recovered Patients

By Mark Prvulovic - Updated Mar 20, 2020 at 10:58PM

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Forget vaccines or antivirals -- antibodies from patients who have recovered could be the secret to beating COVID-19.

Healthcare organizations are working on a number of different types of treatments for COVID-19, repurposing old drugs, as well as developing new ones. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that it's working on developing a new type of treatment using the blood of patients who have successfully recovered from the virus.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said during a White House press briefing that the agency has been experimenting with the possibility of using donated blood plasma from recovered patients to develop a treatment. These antibodies, which are introduced into a patient once the platelets and cells have been filtered out, can boost said patient's immune system and help fight against a pathogen as a short-term treatment.

A nurse taking a blood donation from a donor.

Image source: Getty Images.

Hahn went on to say that his agency would keep in touch with regards to this type of treatment. Should it prove to be a success, which seems quite possible, it would provide COVID-19 patients with a short-term treatment that can help manage symptoms until an alternative is developed.

Further details

Biotech companies in the private sector have announced their own blood-based COVID-19 treatment candidates, as well. Takeda Pharmaceuticals (TAK 0.55%) announced earlier in March that the company is testing a plasma-derived therapy in patients who are at high risk of dying from the virus.

Emergent BioSolutions (EBS -0.69%) also announced two new potential COVID-19 treatments that are also based on human plasma antibodies. The company has already started collection efforts and expects to start clinical trials in Q3 2020.

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