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Upstate physician concerned about FDA’s guidance on convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19

Ryan Delaney
WRVO News File Photo

One central New York physician said it’s a little bit concerning that the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for treating COVID-19 with convalescent plasma therapy

"According to the Mayo Clinic, over 70,000 people have received some form of convalescent plasma, yet we don’t have enough information to be able to make an informed opinion about whether or not it is safe and has clinical benefit," said Upstate University Hospital Infectious Disease Chief Stephen Thomas.

Thomas added there are still many questions regarding the therapy that infuses antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to treat current COVID patients.

"When is the optimal time to treat them?” Thomas said. “And what’s the dose that they should receive? And how many doses should they receive or how many days should they be treated? What are some nuances of patients that could benefit from a standard course of therapy?”

Thomas said safety, however, is not an issue because plasma therapy is used in many areas. Upstate has been part of a study of convalescent plasma therapy. And while Thomas said it has helped in some cases, those anecdotes can’t replace results of a highly controlled study.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.