Randomized trials outside the United States have also not been able to prove the effectiveness of plasma. A trial at seven medical centers in Wuhan, the likely zero point of the virus, concluded that convalescent plasma did not significantly improve patients’ recovery time.
The coronavirus epidemic>
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated August 4, 2020
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
- For now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering from what appears to be a second episode of Covid-19. But experts say these patients can have a prolonged course of the infection, with the virus taking weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus usually produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to infection. These antibodies may only last for two to three months in the body, which may sound worrying, but it’s perfectly normal after an acute infection clears, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to catch the coronavirus again, but it is very unlikely that it will be possible within a short time from the initial infection or making people sicker the second time around.
I own a small business. Can I get relief?
- Stimulus bills enacted in March offer help to millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for assistance are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Certain large companies in certain sectors are also eligible. The assistance offered, which is administered by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. But a lot of people haven’t seen any payments yet. Even those who have received help are confused: the rules are draconian, and some are stuck on money they don’t know how to use. Many small business owners receive less than expected or hear nothing at all.
What are my rights if I am afraid to return to work?
Should I refinance my mortgage?
- This might be a good idea, as mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing demands have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to wait in line. But defaults are also on the rise, so if you’re thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.
What will school look like in September?
- Many schools are unlikely to return to normal schedules this fall, requiring continued online learning, makeshift child care and reduced work days. California’s two largest public school districts – Los Angeles and San Diego – said on July 13 that distance education would only be remote in the fall, citing concerns that the surge in coronavirus infections in their regions pose too serious a risk to students and teachers. Together, the two districts are home to some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country to date to abandon their plans for a physical return, even partial, to classrooms when they reopen in August. For the other neighborhoods, the solution will not be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the country’s largest, New York, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending a few days in class and other days online. There is no national policy on this yet, so check back regularly with your municipal school system to see what is happening in your community.
As in the US trials, the Wuhan study struggled to recruit participants and ended early with just 103 volunteers. A recent analysis by researchers, including Drs. Joyner and Casadevall, found that several studies abroad suggested that plasma was effective, but not all were randomized.
An opening for President Trump
The Trump administration has touted recovering plasma as a rare bright spot in the pandemic.
Eager to portray his administration as a march towards a “cure,” Mr Trump mentioned plasma alongside remdesivir and dexamethasone, two treatments for the coronavirus that have been shown to be effective in randomized trials.
Dr Deborah L. Birx, head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, at one point pushed the federal government to secure 500,000 bags of plasma to be stored for a possible wave of infections in the fall, according to a senior administration official. She also lobbied for plasma transfusions in nursing homes, the official said.
When asked about the claims, a task force official said Dr Birx wanted to act quickly to capitalize on the period after a person is infected when their plasma contains higher levels of antibodies. Dr Birx said she wanted clinical trials to include vulnerable people in nursing homes, the official added.
FDA commissioner Dr Stephen M. Hahn began discussing the benefits of plasma during White House briefings in March. In interviews and testimony to Congress since then, he has touted it as one of the few therapies that the agency can publicly endorse.
Last week, he said the FDA was “encouraged by the first promising data that we have seen” and that it is “studying that data to determine, ultimately, the safety and effectiveness of this product.” .