“As coronavirus cases skyrocket in parts of the country, identifying all of the possible prevention and treatment strategies that are available to us is critical,” lawmakers said in a statement. Noting that the Trump administration has already established public-private partnerships to accelerate the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, they say that “we cannot abandon investments in additional potentially life-saving options before ‘a vaccine does not become readily available’.In a letter sent today to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and Dr. Gary Disbrow, acting director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), lawmakers called for federal funds be allocated to conduct research and testing on COVID-IG Injections for Prophylactic Coronavirus.
“The scientific community sees a clear possibility for COVID-IG injections to confer a certain level of immunity or help improve the immune response in people not yet infected with COVID-19,” lawmakers wrote in the letter. “As such, the Trump administration needs to fund more clinical trials across the country for this procedure. ”
According to CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook, this treatment is similar to the approach used “to prevent disease in people exposed to other viruses, such as hepatitis, measles and chickenpox. . [chicken pox]. «
In a recent Senate hearing, infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci said the treatment, an injection in the upper arm that works like a vaccine, is “a very attractive concept.”
Krishnamoorthi and Porter suggest that few companies seek Food and Drug Administration funding for this type of treatment because funding flows have been focused on vaccine efforts.
“We have been made aware of the COVID-IG preventive injection proposals that were rejected by BARDA in early March,” the two said in their letter. “We ask the agency to reconsider these proposals and those to come. ”
The letter also cites a Pentagon-funded clinical trial in New York State with frontline healthcare workers to study the use of immunoglobulins as a preventive measure for people at high risk of COVID exposure. 19. The Department of Defense provided $ 34.6 million for the study and intends to use the research from this trial to examine possible preventative treatments for military personnel. Lawmakers say there has been “little discussion about whether this treatment is available to ordinary Americans if it proves to be effective.” ”
Similar therapy has also been shown to be safe and effective in the treatment of coronavirus. Convalescent plasma treatments, in which blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and whose immune systems have produced antibodies, have been shown to speed recovery in sick patients. More than 40,000 COVID-19 patients in the United States have received convalescent plasma as part of the National Expanded Access Program, led by the Mayo Clinic and sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Representatives Krishnamoorthi and Porter request that HHS and BARDA provide a written summary of funding allocation plans for clinical trials, or requests to Congress for appropriate federal funding for these trials, by July 30, 2020.
Read their letter here: