(CNN) – The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it is expediting the use of a blood plasma treatment for patients seriously ill with the coronavirus, making it easier for doctors to try another tool to attack the illness.
The FDA said in a news release that it is “facilitating access” for patients with life threatening infections to blood plasma taken from a person who recovered after once testing positive for the virus.
It’s a treatment the state of New York is pursuing in clinical trials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
The process, known as plasma-derived therapy or “convalescent plasma,” involves doctors testing the plasma of people who recovered for antibodies to the virus and then injecting that plasma, or a derivative of it, into the sick person.
The move is a “big step” forward, said Dr. Arturo Casadevall, chief of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who has advocated for the plasma treatment.