The drug is currently approved for malaria and also for rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, which is its main use in the U.S. It’s therefore available to be prescribed off-label, and some clinicians have already said they’re using it on COVID-19 patients. But neither Hahn nor other task force members addressed whether enough hydroxychloroquine is on hand to treat large numbers of coronavirus cases. Convalescent plasma is another treatment the FDA is considering for COVID-19, said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD.
Convalescent plasma and the immune globulin that it contains is another possible treatment the agency is considering, Hahn added. “FDA’s been working for some time on this,” he said. “If you’ve been exposed to coronavirus and you’re better — you don’t have the virus in your blood — we could collect the blood, concentrate that and have the ability, once it’s pathogen-free, to give that to other patients, and the immune response could potentially provide a benefit to patients. That’s another thing we’re looking at; over the next couple of weeks, we’ll have information and we’re really pushing hard to try to accelerate that.” Such treatments have been effective in Ebola, for example.