Could blood from COVID-19 survivors be beneficial in the treatment of critically ill patients?

Bottom Line:

Blood transfusions from recently recovered donors show promising results in alleviating clinical outcomes of severely infected COVID-19 patients, suggesting it may serve as a potential therapy.

Reference:

Duan, K. et al. Effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy in severe COVID-19 patients. PNAS (2020). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2004168117

Date Published:

6 April 2020

Synopsis:

As no antiviral agents have yet to be available for the treatment of COVID-19, the search for alternative strategies is urgent. Most recently, convalescent plasma (CP) therapy, which involves the transfusion of antibodies from the blood of healthy, previous infected individuals to very sick patients, have shown to be a strong possible therapeutic avenue. In the study, 10 severe patients positive for COVID-19 were given a single dose of CP obtained from prior infected but recovered individuals containing antibodies against the virus. Clinical symptoms of the recipients showed noticeable improvements within three days, along with increased white blood cell counts and decreased inflammation. Moreover, the virus was undetectable in 7 of the patients that received the transfusion within one week following transfusion. The therapy was well-tolerated by all patients with no adverse effects by any recipients. Together, convalescent plasma therapy shows great promise as a therapeutic treatment for severe cases of COVID-19, though further studies are required to validate its effectiveness and safety.

Summary by: Edwin Wong