Blood plasma therapy doesn’t help seriously ill Covid-19 patients: Study


TORONTO: Convalescent plasma does not reduce the risk of intubation or death in Covid-19 patients, according to a study that found that people who received the therapy experienced more serious adverse events than those who received standard care. Intubation is a procedure in which a tube is inserted into the windpipe to facilitate breathing.
The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, also found that the antibody profile in the blood of people who have had the virus is extremely variable and this can modify the response to treatment.
Convalescent plasma therapy uses blood from people who have recovered from illness to help other people recover.
“It was thought that the blood plasma of Covid-19 survivors would help those who were seriously ill from the virus, but sadly, this is not the case,” said the study’s co-principal investigator. Donald arnold, teacher in McMaster University in Canada.
“We are warning against using convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized Covid-19 patients unless they are in a closely monitored clinical trial,” Arnold said.
The research team also found that patients who received convalescent plasma experienced significantly more serious adverse events than those who received standard care.
Most of those events were an increased need for oxygen and a worsening of respiratory failure, they said.
However, the fatal incident rate was not significantly different from the control group of patients who did not receive the blood.
The clinical trial, called CONCOR-1, included 940 patients in 72 hospitals in Canada, the United States and Brazil.
The trial found that the convalescent plasma had a highly variable donor antibody content due to the highly variable immune response to the virus.
Different antibody profiles in convalescent plasma were found to significantly impact whether or not patients underwent intubation or death.
Unfavorable antibody profiles, that is, low antibody titers, non-functional antibodies, or both, were associated with an increased risk of intubation or death.
“These findings may explain the apparent contradictory results between randomized trials showing no benefit and observational studies showing better results with higher titer products compared to low titer products,” said the study’s co-principal investigator. Jeannie callum, associate scientist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Canada.
“It appears that it may not be that high-titer convalescent plasma is helpful, but rather that low-titer convalescent plasma is harmful,” Callum said.
The researchers noted that the damage may come from the transfusion of convalescent plasma that contains malfunctioning antibodies.
“One hypothesis is that these dysfunctional antibodies could compete with the patient’s own antibodies and could disrupt the growing immune response,” said the study’s co-principal investigator. Philippe Begin, associate professor at the University of Montreal in Canada.
“This phenomenon has previously been observed in animal models and in human studies of HIV vaccines,” Begin said.
He added that the CONCOR-1 investigators hope to collaborate with other international study investigators to understand the potential risks and benefits of convalescent plasma.
“This information from Canada’s largest clinical trial on convalescent plasma and Covid-19 can be analyzed in conjunction with the results of several similar studies being conducted around the world to provide more robust information and insights that will guide clinical practice and global health policy, “Begin Additional.

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