There are still no FDA-approved therapies for COVID-19, but the agency is working to expedite testing of possible treatments, commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said Wednesday.
"We're streamlining all processes to make sure that we can get the applications that come to us into the treatment arena and the hospitals as quickly as possible," Hahn said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "It's really important to stress that there are no FDA-approved therapies for COVID-19, but what we're talking about is expediting, getting potentially positive therapies, therapies that could help out into hospitals, to doctors' hands."
The FDA on Wednesday announced its new Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), which uses all tools the agency has to bring new therapies quickly to patients and to support research to determine if the measures are safe and effective.
"This is great news for the American people in terms of the partnership between the private sector and government," Hahn said, adding that for the last four to six weeks, the FDA has been looking at the acceleration of potential therapies and also at convalescent plasma therapy, which involves using blood plasma from recovered patients to build up antibodies in sick people.
Co-host Sandra Smith pointed out that the FDA has been criticized for possibly moving too quickly, including in an article in The Washington Post that questioned if the agency is authorizing unproven drugs too quickly.
Hahn noted that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have gotten an emergency-use authorization, but the FDA didn't approve it for the treatment of COVID-19.
"What this allowed us to do is have donated drugs to come into the system," he said. "That drug will be allocated for clinical trials, where we'll be able to ask the question about whether these drugs work. That's the best way to get the data and the science for us to tell Americans whether this is the right drug for them."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.