Nigeria’s virus death toll crosses 1,000, as FDA authorise plasma treatment for COVID-19

Chidi Samuel| The number of fatalities recorded so far from coronavirus in Nigeria on Sunday surpassed the 1,000 mark, six months after index case of the highly contagiuos virus was diagnoised in the country.

In a statement on Sunday night, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed Nigeria has lost 1,002 persons to the virus, with five of the individuals losing the fight in the last 24 hours.

According to the health agency, 322 new cases of the disease were recorded in 17 states and the FCT on Sunday.

Lagos, the epicentre of the outbreak recorded 130 new infections, followed by Bauchi-36, FCT-25, Edo-17, Bayelsa-14, Ogun-14, Oyo-14, Anambra-13, and Kaduna-12.

Other states with new infections include, Ondo-11, Abia-10, Osun-6, Plateau-5, Kwara-5, Kano-4, Ebonyi-3, Sokoto-2, and Borno-1.

The NCDC further stated that the country currently has 52,227 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with 38,945 recoveries.

-Trump announces plasma treatment authorized for COVID-19

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Sunday announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved emergency authorization to treat COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma — a move he called “a breakthrough,” one of his top health officials called “promising” and other health experts said needs more study before it’s celebrated.

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The announcement came after White House officials complained there were politically motivated delays by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a vaccine and therapeutics for the disease that has upended Trump’s reelection chances.

The authorization makes it easier for some patients to obtain the treatment but is not the same as full FDA approval.

The blood plasma, taken from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and rich in antibodies, may provide benefits to those battling the disease. But the evidence so far has not been conclusive about whether it works, when to administer it and what dose is needed.

In a letter describing the emergency authorization, the chief scientist for the FDA, Denise Hinton, said: “COVID-19 convalescent plasma should not be considered a new standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Additional data will be forthcoming from other analyses and ongoing, well-controlled clinical trials in the coming months.”

Earlier this month, Mayo Clinic researchers reported a strong hint that blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors helps other infected patients recover. But it wasn’t considered proof.

More than 70,000 patients in the U.S. have been given convalescent plasma, a century-old approach to fend off flu and measles before vaccines. It’s a go-to tactic when new diseases come along, and history suggests it works against some, but not all, infections.

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The Mayo Clinic reported preliminary data from 35,000 coronavirus patients treated with plasma, and said there were fewer deaths among people given plasma within three days of diagnosis, and also among those given plasma containing the highest levels of virus-fighting antibodies.

But it wasn’t a formal study. The patients were treated in different ways in hospitals around the country as part of an FDA program designed to speed access to the experimental therapy. That “expanded access” program tracks what happens to the recipients, but it cannot prove the plasma — and not other care they received — was the real reason for improvement.

With agency report

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