Therapy Areas: Infectious Diseases
Early Use of Convalescent Plasma May Help Outpatients with COVID-19 Avoid Hospitalization
21 December 2021 - - The results of a nationwide, multicenter clinical trial led by Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provides solid evidence for the use of plasma from convalescent patients -- those who have recovered from the disease and whose blood contains antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 -- as an early treatment, Johns Hopkins said.

The researchers showed that convalescent plasma reduced the need for hospitalization by half for outpatients with COVID-19 who participated in the study.

The findings are posted this week on the preprint website MedRxiv, in which scientists and clinicians have been sharing urgent research related to COVID-19 prior to peer-reviewed journal publication.

In the outpatient early treatment study conducted between June 2020 and October 2021, the researchers provided 1,181 randomized patients with one dose each of either polyclonal high-titer convalescent plasma (containing a concentrated mixture of antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2) or placebo control plasma (with no SARS-CoV-2 antibodies).

The patients were 18 and older, and had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 within eight days prior to transfusion. A successful therapy was defined as a patient not requiring hospitalization within 28 days after plasma transfusion.

The study found that 17 patients out of 592 who received the convalescent plasma required hospitalization within 28 days of their transfusion, while 37 out of 589 who received placebo control plasma did.

This translated to a relative risk reduction for hospitalization of 54%.

Convalescent plasma therapy is currently available in the United States under Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization. Before it can be considered as an early COVID-19 treatment option for outpatients, the FDA must extend the current authorization to include its use in that role.

The study was principally funded by the US Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (DOD JPEO CBRND), in collaboration with the Defense Health Agency contract number W911QY2090012.

Initial support was received from the Bloomberg Philanthropies and the state of Maryland, with additional support coming from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant 3R01AI152078-01S1 and the agency's Division of Intramural Research, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences grant U24TR001609-S3, the Mental Wellness Foundation, the Moriah Fund, Octapharma Plasma, the Healthnetwork Foundation and the Shear Family Foundation.
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