Published time: 01 October 2020
Authors: Talha Khan Burki
Over the past few months, more than 80 000 Americans with COVID-19 have been treated with convalescent plasma, under an expanded access programme. The programme was discontinued on Aug 23, 2020, after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the emergency use of convalescent plasma in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. “This product may be effective in treating COVID-19”, stated the FDA. “The known and potential benefits…outweigh the known and potential risks.” The agency had good reason to sound so cautious. Convalescent plasma remains unproven. A tiny fraction of the thousands of Americans to have received the treatment did so as part of a randomised clinical trial.
Completion of clinical trials in light of COVID-19