France will allow “exceptional and temporary” use of plasma treatment for COVID-19 patients, the country’s health safety agency announced on Thursday.

In a statement, the National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM) said immune plasma therapy can be used to treat critically-ill patients.

Clinical trials of the treatment commenced in France in early April and the agency said there was data suggesting that plasma of people who recovered from COVID-19 “could improve the survival rate of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).”

The ANSM said the “effectiveness of these plasmas has not been demonstrated” but a “decision regulating the exceptional and temporary use of plasma” has been taken in view of the “potential severity of COVID-19 disease and in order to increase the chances of survival of patients with a severe form.”

France is among the worst-hit countries in Europe and around the globe, with over 24,000 fatalities and close to 170,000 cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

More than 3.27 million people in 187 countries and regions have been infected since the virus emerged in China last December, with the US and Europe the hardest-hit areas in the world.

A significant number of COVID-19 patients – over 1.02 million – have recovered, but the disease has also claimed nearly 234,000 lives so far, as per the Johns Hopkins data.

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev in Ankara

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.