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FDA issues EUA to convalescent plasma for COVID–19 treatment

The FDA determined that it is reasonable to believe that COVID-19 convalescent plasma may be effective in lessening the severity or shortening the length of COVID-19 illness in some hospitalised patients

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The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) issued an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19. Based on scientific evidence available, the FDA concluded, as outlined in its decision memorandum, this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.

The EUA authorises the distribution of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in the US and its administration by health care providers, as appropriate, to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in hospitalised patients with COVID-19.

Based on an evaluation of the EUA criteria and the totality of the available scientific evidence, the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research determined that the statutory criteria for issuing an EUA criteria were met.

The FDA determined that it is reasonable to believe that COVID-19 convalescent plasma may be effective in lessening the severity or shortening the length of COVID-19 illness in some hospitalised patients. The agency also determined that the known and potential benefits of the product, when used to treat COVID-19, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product and that that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternative treatments.

The EUA is not intended to replace randomised clinical trials and facilitating the enrollment of patients into any of the ongoing randomised clinical trials is critically important for the definitive demonstration of safety and efficacy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma. The FDA continues to recommend that the designs of ongoing randomised clinical trials of COVID-19 convalescent plasma and other therapeutic agents remain unaltered, as COVID-19 convalescent plasma does not yet represent a new standard of care based on the current available evidence.

The EUA requires that fact sheets providing important information about using COVID-19 convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including dosing instructions and potential side effects. Possible side effects of COVID-19 convalescent plasma include allergic reactions, transfusion-associated circulatory overload, and transfusion-associated lung injury, as well as the potential for transfusion-transmitted infections.

The FDA initially facilitated access to convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19 by using pathways that included traditional clinical trials and emergency single-patient investigational new drug (IND) applications.

The EUA remains in effect until the termination of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorisation of the emergency use of drugs and biologics for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

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