Pinprick Blood Test To Identify Antibodies In Patients Approved By FDA
The blood tests are important for a variety of reasons, including the fact that those with antibodies might be able to act as the first wave of people to re-start the economy. In other treatment news: an unproven stem cell therapy gets the green light, an oral antiviral spray shows promise to protect health workers, experts warn there's no "magic pill" to cure the virus, and the man behind a cocktail of drugs that's been criticized as giving Americans false hope.
The New York Times:
F.D.A. Approves First Coronavirus Antibody Test In U.S.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved a new test for coronavirus antibodies, the first for use in the United States. Currently available tests are designed to find fragments of viral genes indicating an ongoing infection. Doctors swab the nose and throat, and amplify any genetic material from the virus found there. The new test, by contrast, looks for protective antibodies in a finger prick of blood. It tells doctors whether a patient has ever been exposed to the virus and now may have some immunity. (Mandavilli, 4/2)
The Associated Press:
Coronavirus Survivor: 'In My Blood, There May Be Answers'
Tiffany Pinckney remembers the fear when COVID-19 stole her breath. So when she recovered, the New York City mother became one of the country’s first survivors to donate her blood to help treat other seriously ill patients. “It is definitely overwhelming to know that in my blood, there may be answers,” Pinckney told The Associated Press. Doctors around the world are dusting off a century-old treatment for infections: Infusions of blood plasma teeming with immune molecules that helped survivors beat the new coronavirus. (Neergaard and Ritzel, 4/3)
The New York Times:
Unproven Stem Cell Therapy Gets OK For Testing In Coronavirus Patients
An experimental stem cell therapy derived from human placentas will begin early testing in patients with the coronavirus, a New Jersey biotech company said Thursday. The treatment, being developed by the company Celularity, has not yet been used on any patients with symptoms of Covid-19, but it has caught the attention of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer. Mr. Giuliani recently featured an interview with the company founder on his website and said on Twitter that the product has “real potential,” while also criticizing the Food and Drug Administration for not moving more quickly to approve potential remedies. (Thomas, 4/2)
Coronavirus: Oral Antiviral Spray To Be Tested For Infection Prevention
An antiviral oral spray that has been available over the counter since 2012 will undergo a clinical trial by University Hospitals in northeastern Ohio to see if it prevents front-line health care workers from becoming infected with the new coronavirus.“We have every reason to believe it will be effective,” said Dr. Robert A. Salata, chairman of the department of medicine at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and principal investigator for the study. (Futty, 4/2)
No 'Magic Pill': The Fight Over Unproven Drugs For Coronavirus
The Food and Drug Administration’s rush to greenlight unproven malaria medicines to fight the coronavirus may derail clinical trials of other potential cures for the deadly virus. Right now, dozens of potential therapies — from antivirals to antibodies taken from the blood of coronavirus survivors — are being tested in people. The first results from these studies could come within months if drugmakers enroll the thousands of patients needed to complete the research. (Owermohle, 4/2)
The New York Times:
Touting Virus Cure, ‘Simple Country Doctor’ Becomes A Right-Wing Star
Last month, residents of Kiryas Joel, a New York village of 35,000 Hasidic Jews roughly an hour’s drive from Manhattan, began hearing about a promising treatment for the coronavirus that had been rippling through their community. The source was Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, 46, a mild-mannered family doctor with offices near the village. Since early March, his clinics had treated people with coronavirus-like symptoms, and he had developed an experimental treatment consisting of an antimalarial medication called hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc sulfate. (Roose and Rosenberg, 4/2)