WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday issued an emergency authorization for doctors to treat Covid-19 using blood plasma from patients who’ve recovered from the disease.
Below, STAT answers the major questions surrounding convalescent plasma as a Covid-19 treatment and the science supporting its use.
What is convalescent plasma, and how does it work?
When people get sick with Covid-19, their immune systems generate antibodies to fight the disease. Those antibody proteins float in their blood plasma — the liquid component of blood that suspends blood cells.
Doctors can harvest the plasma, test it for safety, and then purify it to isolate those antibodies. That “plasma-derived therapy,” or “convalescent plasma,” can be injected into another patient sick with Covid-19, and the antibodies it contains can help fight the virus early in an infection until the patient’s own immune system generates its own antibodies in sufficient quantities to beat back Covid-19.
Does scientific evidence show that convalescent plasma is a safe and effective treatment for Covid-19?
The Mayo Clinic released data in June that showed plasma treatment…
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