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FDA's emergency approval of blood plasma as COVID-19 treatment on hold - NYT

FILE PHOTO: A tattoo of a Washington State ferry is seen on the arm of Valley Medial Center emergency room technician Melissa Cruz as she donates convalescent plasma after recovering from coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Central Seattle Donor Center of Bloodworks Northwest during the outbreak in Seattle, Washington, U.S. April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

(Reuters) - The emergency approval of blood plasma as a potential COVID-19 treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now been put on hold, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing two senior administration officials.

A group of top federal health officials including Anthony Fauci have argued that the emerging data on the treatment was too weak, the report said, adding that an emergency approval could still be granted in the near future.

The authorization is on hold for now as more data is reviewed, the NYT reported, citing Clifford Lane, the clinical director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institute of Health (NIH).

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

NIH did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

People who survive an infectious disease such as COVID-19 are left with blood plasma containing antibodies, or proteins the body’s immune system created, to fight off a virus. This can be transfused into newly infected patients to try to aid recovery.

An FDA emergency-use authorization could allow faster access to a therapy for the pandemic.

Reporting by Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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