WASHINGTON | Donald Trump announced on Sunday evening the emergency authorization of the transfusion of blood plasma from people cured of the coronavirus to hospital patients, a treatment already widely used in the United States.
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Only a few minutes before the start of the press conference of the American president, the American drug agency (FDA) had anticipated him by announcing this emergency authorization, which is his responsibility and not that of the head of state .
Criticized for his management of the pandemic, Donald Trump is seeking to revive himself by relying on therapeutic advances, even if no effective treatment or vaccine is expected before the presidential election on November 3.
The transfusion of this plasma which contains antibodies aims to allow patients to eliminate the virus more quickly and to limit damage to the body.
While the treatment has already produced results, its exact effectiveness is still debated. And it presents a risk of side effects and transmission of infectious agents.
Donald Trump called the announcement a “historic breakthrough” for the treatment of COVID-19, likely to “save a considerable number of lives”.
But the FDA already authorized the transfusion of plasma from people recovered from the coronavirus under certain conditions, as part of clinical trials or for patients in desperate circumstances.
More than 70,000 patients have already received a transfusion of plasma taken from convalescent people, according to the US Minister of Health, Alex Azar.
The authorization issued on Sunday will make it possible to expand the population of patients likely to receive a transfusion.
US Health Minister Alex Azar said early results showed a 35% higher survival rate for patients who received a transfusion.
In its announcement on Sunday, the FDA nevertheless recalled that there was, for the time being, no formal proof that the use of plasma was effective.
“Plasma from convalescent people probably works, even if it had to be confirmed by clinical trials, but not as emergency treatment for seriously ill patients,” warns Dr.r Len Horovitz, Respiratory Intern at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
According to him, it would be more effective if it was administered at the very first signs of the disease, which will now be possible under the authorization published on Sunday.
Donald Trump called on people recovered from the coronavirus to donate their plasma, via a national online platform.
Plasma treatment has already been authorized in France, Austria, Switzerland, Cuba or China.
Polish biotech company Biomed Lublin this week announced the launch of the first phase of production of a COVID-19 drug based on plasma from recovered miners.