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Live updates: Scientists express doubts about coronavirus treatment touted as breakthrough by Trump – The Washington Post

August 24, 2020 at 12:27 AM EDT

Trump touts FDA’s emergency authorization of convalescent plasma as historic breakthrough, but scientists are doubtful

President Trump announced Sunday that he had helped break through a regulatory “logjam” to grant emergency authorization of convalescent plasma to treat covid-19, a “powerful therapy” that he claimed “had an incredible rate of success,” despite the fact that his own scientists are calling for more studies to definitively show it works.

The announcement, at a news conference where Trump was flanked by Food and Drug Administration commissioner Stephen Hahn and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, drew criticism from physicians and scientists, who said their statements misled the public by overstating the evidence behind a therapy that shows promise but still needs to be rigorously tested.

“I watched this in horror,” said Eric Topol, an influential physician and scientist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. “These are basically just exploratory analyses that don’t prove anything. It’s just extraordinary to declare this as a breakthrough … All this does is jeopardize ever getting the truth.”

By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Laurie McGinley, Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim