NIH Unconvinced on Convalescent Plasma Therapy

The data on convalescent plasma as a COVID-19 therapy are inconclusive, an NIH panel determined yesterday—undercutting the FDA’s controversial August 23 endorsement of the therapy, NBC reports.

“Convalescent plasma should not be considered standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19” until evidence from randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials is available, the NIH panel advised.

There was no solid proof that the therapy improved survival for all hospitalized patients—although it may be beneficial for a subgroup of patients, the panel concluded, according to Bloomberg.

“The evidence the FDA did review to grant plasma an [emergency use authorization] has become the topic of much debate because it seems the agency did what it doesn’t like pharma cos to do—analyze the data a bunch of different ways until something works,” tweeted Bloomberg health reporter Anna Edney.

However: The treatment has been deemed safe—and some physicians desperate for treatments to help their patients say they’ll still try the therapy.

I can't wait three to six months for an article to come out. My patients would be dead by then,” Hugh Cassiere, director of critical care services for Long Island’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, told NBC.

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