A study of five critically ill patients with COVID-19, who were treated with plasma from patients who had overcome the disease in addition to medications, indicates that they improved their clinical condition, according to preliminary results.
The report published by Jama is accompanied by an editorial indicating that, although the cases are “well studied”, the research has “important limitations”, since it was not a randomized clinical trial and there was no control group, for therefore it is not possible to determine the “true clinical effect” of this intervention.
The study, whose first signatory is Chenguang Shen, from the National Center for Clinical Research on Infectious Diseases, describes the case of five critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), who were treated with plasma transfusion containing antibodies neutralizers.
After treatment, there was an improvement in the clinical status of the patients, the preliminary results indicate, so this “may help” in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 and ARDS, although the authors point out that this approach “requires evaluation in randomized clinical trials. “
In addition to plasma transfusion, all of them continued to receive antiviral treatment with various medications, the report explains.
The patients, between 36 and 65 years old, were treated at the hospital in Shenzhen (China), where they were admitted with severe respiratory failure, and some needed extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or suffered from bacterial or fungal pneumonia.
Four of them received the plasma by day 20 of hospitalization, while the fifth, who also had hypertension and mitral valve insufficiency, received the transfusion on the tenth day.
Donor plasma had demonstrable anti-SARS-CoV-19 antibodies and neutralized the virus in in vitro cultures, the study notes.
The use of plasma “may have contributed to their recovery” because the clinical condition of all patients “improved approximately one week after the transfusion,” the study notes.
The editorial notes that patients received other medications during the trial, which “makes it impossible to determine the specific contribution” of plasma to clinical course or results.
However, despite the limitations, the study provides, according to the editorial, “some evidence to support the possibility of evaluating” this therapy in more rigorous research.