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President Donald Trump authorises the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19

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President Donald Trump announced Sunday his administration was providing an emergency authorization for the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19, a treatment that more than 70,000 patients have already received.

One day prior to the start of the Republican National Convention, Trump made the announcement in an evening news conference. He said the authorization “will dramatically expand access to this treatment.”

“We’re years ahead of approvals if we went by the speed of past administrations,” Trump said, adding, “And that includes vaccines.”

The treatment, which involves taking antibody-rich blood product from recovered coronavirus patients and providing it to those afflicted with the virus, has shown some benefit to patients but evidence remains inconclusive about its effectiveness and appropriate dosage. The trials have been riddled with delays and issues with finding volunteers.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn made clear the emergency use authorization was not the same as the treatment being approved by the FDA and that the treatment still needs to undergo randomized clinical trials to determine its safety and effectiveness.

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