Trump touts New York coronavirus trials as progress against pandemic

Bioethicists and policy experts have warned of an excessive promise of chloroquine, which is also used against lupus and arthritis, as it is not yet clear how effective it is against the coronavirus and its side effects could be serious.

The second study could start this week to test infusion of a serum from recovered Covid-19 patients into current patients to increase their immunity to the virus, Cuomo said.

“It’s just a study, it’s a study for people in serious condition, but the New York Department of Health has been working on it with some of New York’s best health agencies,” Cuomo said at a morning press conference. “We think it is promising and we will start this week.”

State health officials said they would start recruiting a pool of recovered patients in the coming days to donate their plasma, which contains antibodies to the coronavirus, to the serum.

New York officials stressed that drug therapy and serum studies are not “clinical therapies” and that Covid 19 patients are unlikely to heal. However, they said the trials could shorten the incubation period, lower the viral load, and have other, more nuanced benefits.

Plasma technology, which was first used in the 1890s, is still occasionally used in critical situations – Chinese scientists have also used it in the current pandemic. But it had a mixed record: In an experiment with plasma against the Ebola virus31 percent of participants died compared to 38 percent who died while receiving only supportive measures. Researchers reported that the technique “was not associated with a significant improvement in survival.”

The FDA “is working swiftly to facilitate the development and availability of convalescent plasma as a potential treatment option for COVID-19 for those patients who are most needed,” said spokesman Michael Felberbaum.

Arthur Allen contributed to this report.

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