5 COVID-19 updates from the FDA

The FDA has updated guidelines for blood donations and mask use and launched an emergency program to speed the development of COVID-19 treatments.

Five updates: 

Editor's note: This is not an exhaustive list. Updates are listed in order of most recent. 

  1. The FDA said serological tests can be used to help healthcare providers identify when a person has recovered from COVID-19 and can return to work. Serological tests measure the amount of antibodies present in the blood when the body is responding to an infection. The tests can also help identify who can donate a part of their blood called convalescent plasma, which could serve as a treatment for people who are severely ill from COVID-19.

  2. The FDA updated its guidelines for who is eligible to donate blood in response to a severe blood shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Blood donation centers across the U.S. have experienced a dramatic reduction in donations due to social distancing and cancellation of blood drives.

  3. The FDA said people can use masks approved under standards used in other countries, such as KN95s, which are similar to N95 masks but are made in China and aren't FDA-approved. The agency said it made the decision to help ease potential mask shortages but the masks still have to meet certain standards, which it laid out here.

  4. The FDA launched an emergency program to speed up COVID-19 drug development, called the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program. The program is designed to bring new therapies to COVID-19 patients as quickly as possible while supporting research to determine whether those therapies are safe and effective.

  5. The FDA issued emergency use authorization to allow patients with COVID-19 to be treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. The authorization allows physicians to prescribe the drugs to adolescent and adult COVID-19 patients as appropriate when a clinical trial is not available or feasible, but does not mean the drugs are approved. They can only be prescribed for COVID-19 for as long as the pandemic lasts.

More articles on pharmacy:
Gilead boosts remdesivir production, now has 1.5M doses
Walgreens adds 6 COVID-19 safety measures to protect workers
2 East Coast pharmacy schools graduating students early to fight COVID-19

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