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US authorizes convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19

US President Donald Trump made a "truly historic announcement" Sunday on the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma to treat patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a federal agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has authorized the emergency use of antibody-rich blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to treat other coronavirus patients, Trump said during a press briefing at the White House.

The FDA noted in a press release on its website that based on the available scientific evidence, “the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product."

“This is what I’ve been looking to do for a long time. This is a great thing,” Trump told reporters.

"I’m pleased to make a truly historic announcement in our battle against the China virus that will save countless lives.”

The "powerful therapy" transfuses strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling the infection, Trump added.

The FDA said in its statement that over 70,000 American patients had been treated with convalescent plasma so far.

Earlier, Trump accused some health authorities of playing politics.

"The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!" Trump tweeted on Saturday.

The US has reported nearly 5.7 million cases of the coronavirus, including around 2 million recoveries and over 176,700 deaths, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Since originating in Wuhan, China last December, the pandemic has claimed more than 806,600 lives in 188 countries and regions.

The US, Brazil, India and Russia are currently the worst-hit countries.

Over 23.3 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeding 15 million, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Enter.News