The Food and Drug Administration has revised its emergency use authorization for COVID-19 convalescent plasma on the basis of the latest available data.
The revision states that only high-titer COVID-19 convalescent plasma can be used and only in hospitalized patients who are early in the disease course and those with impaired humoral immunity who cannot produce an adequate antibody response.
The revisions stem from new clinical trial data analyzed or reported since the original EUA was issued in August 2020. The original EUA did not have these restrictions.
“This and other changes to the EUA represent important updates to the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 patients,” Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director, FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement announcing the revisions.
“COVID-19 convalescent plasma used according to the revised EUA may have efficacy, and its known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks,” the FDA said.
The agency said it revoked use of low-titer COVID-19 convalescent plasma on the basis of new data from clinical trials, including randomized, controlled trials, that have failed to demonstrate that low-titer convalescent plasma may be effective in the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
The FDA’s updated fact sheet for health care providers on the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma also notes that transfusion of COVID-19 convalescent plasma late in the disease course, following respiratory failure requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation, hasn’t been found to have clinical benefit.
The revised EUA also includes several additional tests that can be used to manufacture COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
“With this update, nine tests are now included in the EUA for testing plasma donations for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies as a manufacturing step to determine suitability before release,” the FDA said.
A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.