7 updates on COVID-19 from the FDA

The FDA has changed several policies regarding medical supplies and moved quickly to boost availability of medical products needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Seven updates: 

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

  1. FDA received $80 million in funding from the $2 trillion stimulus package signed into law March 27. The agency said it will use the money to continue developing vaccines, promote medical device manufacturing and monitor the medical product supply chain.

  2. FDA allowed hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to be "donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible." The agency said Sandoz donated 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, and Bayer donated 1 million doses of chloroquine.

  3. FDA granted an emergency use authorization that allows healthcare providers to use modified anesthesia gas machines and positive pressure breathing devices as ventilators. The agency said it anticipates this will boost the number of patients who can use ventilators.

  4. FDA will allow healthcare professionals to use imported disposable respirators that aren't approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The agency said the move will boost the supply of respirators.

  5. FDA warned against taking chloroquine phosphate used to treat disease in aquarium fish after a man died from taking chloroquine meant for his pet fish. The agency stressed that chloroquine products sold for aquarium use haven't been evaluated by the FDA to determine whether they're safe and effective for fish, let alone for humans.

  6. FDA is allowing patients with severe COVID-19 infections to be given convalescent plasma, antibody-rich blood products taken from blood donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19. It hasn't been proven the method would treat COVID-19.

  7. FDA specified which types of personal protective equipment can be imported to the U.S. without involving the agency, in hopes of combating shortages. It also created an email address for medical suppliers to ask the FDA questions or express concerns about importing supplies. 
 

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