Report: FDA puts hold on emergency authorization of survivors’ plasma as COVID-19 treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has put a hold on its emergency authorization of using plasma from COVID-19 survivors as a treatment for those infected with the disease.

According to an Aug. 19 report from The New York Times, the FDA is following recommendations from a group of health officials, which includes Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis S. Collins, that said that the data supporting the treatment’s efficacy was not strong enough.

Viruses tend to leave survivors with neutralizing antibodies, which can help a previously infected person resist future infection.

Since COVID-19 is caused by the novel coronavirus, there isn’t enough data yet to know how much protection the antibodies provide the survivor, according to health officials.

While the pharmaceutical industry races to develop a treatment and vaccine, numerous studies have looked into if giving plasma from a COVID-19 survivor to an infected patient could serve as an effective treatment.

For months, organizations including the FDA, Mayo Clinic and the Red Cross have encouraged survivors to donate their plasma.

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Even with the FDA’s hold, H. Clifford Lane told The New York Times that this doesn’t mean the door is shut on authorization in the future.

The clinical director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said an emergency approval could still be issued at a later date.

This story was reported from Atlanta.