US President Donald Trump on Sunday hailed FDA authorization of a coronavirus treatment that uses blood plasma from recovered patients, a day after accusing the agency of impeding the rollout of vaccines and therapeutics for political reasons.
“This is what I’ve been looking to do for a long time,” Trump told an unusually brief White House news conference. “Today I’m pleased to make a truly historic announcement in our battle against the China virus that will save countless lives.”
The FDA, explaining its decision, cited early evidence suggesting blood plasma can decrease mortality and improve the health of patients when administered in the first three days of their hospitalization.
The agency also said it determined this was a safe approach in an analysis of 20,000 patients who received the treatment. So far, 70,000 patients have been treated using blood plasma, the FDA said.
Trump is looking to boost his lagging poll numbers during the Republican convention this week, and progress in treatments or an effective vaccine to gain control of the virus would aid his re-election chances.
Michael Steele, who served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2009 to 2011, said the Trump administration was putting politics ahead of science.
“This is not about good science or even your health, it’s about his re-election,” Steele wrote on Twitter.