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Experts say more trials needed to better understand convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19

Infectious disease experts want more people to enter clinical trials to understand its effectiveness.

TAMPA, Fla. — The FDA has authorized an emergency declaration for convalescent plasma to treat those with coronavirus. Infectious disease experts are looking at the effectiveness of these antibodies. 

Convalescent plasma is taken from people who have recovered from coronavirus. The antibodies could be effective. But, the Infectious Diseases Society of America says we need more studies to better understand it.  

On Tuesday, two doctors from the society's panel discussed convalescent plasma and COVID-19 treatment. They say there are studies taking place right now -- one for preventing, one for treatment for milder infection and one for sicker patients who require hospitalization. 

"To really understand if plasma works, additional studies are needed and those studies are high quality, randomized controlled trials," Dr. Shmuel Shoham said. 

Shoham is a fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society and the associate director of the Transplant and Oncology Infectious Diseases Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

So, is this emergency use authorization from the FDA helpful? One of the doctors say this issuing was "inevitable" and a very large number of people were treated with no harm.

"I cannot think of one shred of data that I have seen that would suggest either harm or, which of course is what we worry about, I think those are the things that need to be focused on, the science and the data, rather than the decision and what drove the decision," Dr. Liise-Anne Pirofski said.

Pirofski is also a fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Doctors are hopeful they can finish these trials and fill in the gaps of understanding convalescent plasma and how it works. 

You can help with that. If you've recovered from coronavirus, you can enroll in these clinical trials. They need hundreds of people to sign up and volunteer. 

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