Coronavirus: Emergency approval of blood plasma as COVID-19 treatment on hold – reports

The emergency approval of blood plasma as a potential treatment for coronavirus by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been put on hold, according to reports.

Convalescent plasma is rich in antibodies in patients who have recovered from coronavirus, and can be given to those who are struggling to develop their own immune response.

Citing two senior administration officials, the The New York Times says a group of top federal health experts – including Dr Anthony Fauci, who’s leading the US response to the disease – have argued that the emerging data on the treatment is too weak, but emergency approval could still be granted in the near future.

The newspaper says H. Clifford Lane, the clinical director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said authorisation is on hold for now as more data is reviewed.

An FDA emergency-use authorisation of plasma could allow faster access to a therapy for the disease.

It said: “Per policy, we are not able to comment on whether or not we will take any action regarding emergency use authorisation for convalescent plasma.”

The NIH did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trials to treat COVID-19 using blood plasma from recovered patients have begun in the UK.

The first 14 units from former coronavirus patients have been supplied to three NHS trusts, and transfusions have already taken place.

The trial will aim to look at the effectiveness of the plasma as a treatment for COVID-19, with more hospitals taking part in the test over the coming months.

In April, Health Secretary Matt Hancock donated plasma to a clinical trial.


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