An advisory panel from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says there is not enough evidence that shows plasma therapy is effective at treating coronavirus patients.
On August 23, the experimental therapy was granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
President Donald Trump said it was a 'very big day' and 'truly historic' just one day after suggesting, baselessly, that the FDA is waiting to approve treatments and vaccines until after the presidential election in November.
The NIH experts say analysis of a study showed 'no difference in seven-day survival overall' between patients who received antibody-rich plasma and those given plasma with low levels of antibodies, and that they can neither recommend nor discourage the use of convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19.
It is transferred into a sick patient in hopes they will develop the antibodies needed to fight off the infection. Pictured: Collected plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 in Bogota, Colombia, August 20
An NIH panel says there is not enough data that shows plasma therapy is effective at improving survival rates. Pictured: Phlebotomist Samatha Gallegos talks with Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz as he donates convalescent plasma at the Oklahoma Blood Institute in Oklahoma City, August 12
'There are currently no data from well-controlled, adequately powered randomized clinical trials that demonstrate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19,' the NIH group said in a statement. 'There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19.'
To approve the treatment, scientists noted a Mayo Clinic study in which there was 35 percent decrease in mortality among patients younger than age 80 who received plasma.
Among 35,000 coronavirus patients, the team said there were fewer deaths among people given plasma within three days of diagnosis and also among those given plasma with the highest levels of antibodies