A COVID-19 plasma therapy backed by Amazon has been approved expeditiously for a study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Amazon backed the study with $2.5 million, and it will be conducted in the world epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, New York City at Columbia University, CNBC reported.
The study will determine whether plasma collected from COVID-19 survivors can be used to aid the immunity of healthcare workers and treat symptoms in severe cases, per the report.
Convalescent plasma is an age-old treatment for influenza and measles, where proteins in a survivors blood produces antibodies to fight disease.
Columbia epidemiologist Dr. Ian Lipkin – who collaborated on the movie "Contagion" – will lead the study with the Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University, Columbia's Irving Medical Center, and the New York Blood Center.
"We appreciate the FDA's approval of this trial, which has the potential to help us protect courageous frontline healthcare workers and first responders during this crisis," Dr. Lipkin told CNBC in a statement.
"Plasma therapy is a long-established approach, developed by Paul Ehrlich and Emil von Behring for treatment of diphtheria and recognized in 1901 by the first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Just as COVID-19 has taken us back to classic methods for outbreak containment like isolation, through a novel use we are rediscovering the lifesaving potential of a classic strategy like plasma therapy."
The trial will test 450 people, including those who are severely ill, contacts of those patients, and healthcare workers. Some will get the treatment, others will receive a placebo.
Amazon Web Services has donated $20 million to research and development during the pandemic, per the report.
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