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  1. Medical Product Safety Information

Fecal Microbiota for Transplantation: Safety Alert - Regarding Additional Safety Protections Pertaining to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19

[Posted 03/23/2020]

AUDIENCE: Patient, Health Professional

ISSUE: FDA is informing health care providers and patients of the potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus by the use of fecal microbiota for transplantation (FMT) and that FDA has determined that additional safety protections are needed.

Several recent studies have documented the presence of SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleic acid (RNA) and/or SARS-CoV-2 virus in stool of infected individuals. This information suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may be transmitted by FMT, although the risk of such transmission is unknown. At this time, testing nasopharyngeal specimens from stool donors for SARS-CoV-2 may not be widely available. Furthermore, there is limited information on the availability and sensitivity of direct testing of stool for SARS-CoV-2.

As the scientific community learns more about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, FDA will provide further information as warranted.

BACKGROUND: In July 2013, FDA issued a guidance document stating that it intends to exercise enforcement discretion under limited conditions regarding the IND requirements for the use of FMT products to treat C. difficile infection in patients that have not responded to standard therapies. The guidance states that FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion provided that the treating physician obtains adequate consent for the use of FMT from the patient or his or her legally authorized representative. The consent should include, at a minimum, a statement that the use of FMT to treat C. difficile is investigational and a discussion of its potential risks.

RECOMMENDATION: Due to the potential for serious adverse events to occur, FDA has determined that the following protections are needed for any use of FMT that is found to be necessary for clincal care if it involves stool donated after December 1, 2019:

  • Donor screening with questions directed at identifying donors who may be currently or recently infected with SARS-CoV-2.
  • Testing donors and/or donor stool for SARS-CoV-2, as feasible.
  • Development of criteria for exclusion of donors and donor stool based on screening and testing.
  • Informed consent that includes information about the potential for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via FMT, including FMT prepared from stool from donors who are asymptomatic for COVID-19.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report online
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on form or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

[04/09/2020 - Safety Alert - FDA] 
[03/12/2020 - Safety Alert - FDA] 
[06/18/2019 - Safety Alert - FDA] 

MedWatch Safety Information

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