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FDA Ramping Up Experimental Drugs In Efforts To Treat Coronavirus

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President Donald Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force held a press briefing this morning with some updates on the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some of the key announcements that were made:

  • Dr. Stephen Hahn, FDA commissioner, said his agency is taking steps to make experimental drugs more accessible and fast-track anti-viral treatments for health care providers and patients.
  • Hahn also said the FDA is looking into "convalescent plasma" as a possible treatment — he emphasized that it is not a proven treatment. Hahn described that as taking blood from someone who was infected by coronavirus but recovered. Antibodies in that virus-free blood could "potentially provide a benefit to patients," he said.
  • FEMA will "take the lead in our national coronavirus response," Vice President Mike Pence said. The response will be managed by states, and "federally supported on testing," he added.
  • "State and private labs are now required by law to report all coronavirus testing directly to the CDC," Pence said.
  • New cases are rising as the testing backlog shrinks, Dr. Deborah Birx said. "Test-positive rates are now in the 10-to-11-percent range," she added.
  • President Trump said the government would be helping small businesses through the economic crisis, along with the airline, cruise ship and "probably" the hotel industries.
  • Dr. Birx reiterated that all Americans should follow federal guidelines and take the threat of spreading the infection seriously. "Even 10 or 15 percent of the population [deciding] that what they're doing today is more important than the health and welfare of the rest of the Americans, they can spread the virus in a very strong way," she said.

You can watch the full press conference below (it starts at 01:01:45).

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