President Trump made the announcement stating that the authorisation “will dramatically expand access to this treatment”. Speaking at an evening ne
President Trump made the announcement stating that the authorisation “will dramatically expand access to this treatment”. Speaking at an evening news conference, he added: “We’re years ahead of approvals if we went by the speed of past administrations. And that includes vaccines.”
The news of the authorisation comes as Mr Trump has criticised the FDA over vaccine testing and approval.
In a tweet, he said: “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.”
The convalescent plasma treatment takes antibody-rich blood product from recovered COVID-19 patients and gives it to those suffering from the virus.
It has been shown to help some patients but evidence is inconclusive about how much should be given and its effectiveness.
Dr Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of Food and Drugs in the US, said the emergency use authorisation was not the same treatment which is being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
He added that the treatment still needs to go through randomised clinical trials to examine its safety and effectiveness.
Scott Gottlieb, Mr Trump’s former Food and Drug Commissioner, said the treatment is “probably beneficial” but the emergency authorisation is an “incremental” change.
So far, almost 180,000 people in America have died from the coronavirus.
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In the tweet, Mr Trump added: “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3.
“Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
Earlier this month, Mr Hahn said the FDA would not “cut corners” to approve a COVID-19 vaccine.
But Mr Trump has promised a vaccine before the end of the year.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Mr Trump is simply trying to make sure FDA officials want to move as fast as he does.
Mr Meadows said: “They want to do things the way they’ve always done it.
“This president is about cutting red tape. That’s what the tweet was all about.”
He added how he believes “there are a number of people that do not see the same sense of urgency as [Mr Trump] sees” for approving drugs to combat COVID-19.
In July the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, asked Mr Trump to “assure us all that the White House will respect the independent authority of the FDA to decide, free from political pressure, if the vaccine is safe and effective.”
Mr Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, also said: “The American people need to be confident that the process of getting to a vaccine is not being politically manipulated.”