Coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Several countries are still struggling to curb the Covid-19 outbreak, a deadly respiratory illness. Meanwhile, researchers are racing to find an effective treatment and therapy and take control of the outburst. A recent study on patients undergoing coronavirus treatment through plasma transfusion shows promising results.
The findings of study titled "Safety Update: COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma in 20,000 Hospitalized Patients" published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggest that the therapy is safe and effective. Also, it is believed that it improves the chances of survival in coronavirus patients.
Since there is no definitive treatment for the disease that has claimed the lives of more than 470,000 people and infected more than 9,060, 000 people around the world, scientists are conducting several studies in order to understand the novel coronavirus better and develop an antibody. Meanwhile, doctors have also been using convalescent plasma transfusion therapy on patients.
In response to the pandemic, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic and national blood banking community developed a national Expanded Access Program (EAP) to collect and distribute convalescent plasma to treat patients with the help of plasma of recently infected and recovered patients who is believed to have antiviral bodies and other bioactive elements in his system that can be used to treat other patients.
Based on previous historical records that "human convalescent plasma is a viable option for mitigation and treatment of COVID-19," the investigation was conducted to determine the safety and effectiveness of the treatment. During their analysis of key safety indicators in 5,000 patients, the incidence of transfusion-related serious adverse events (SAE) was observed in less than 1 percent of patients. It was followed by a study of "key safety metrics following transfusion of convalescent plasma in 20,000 hospitalised adults with severe or life-threatening COVID-19." This data presents a larger analysis in comparison to previous reports of 5000 patients.
"We hypothesised that both the seven-day mortality rate and the number of serious adverse events related to the transfusion of convalescent plasma would continue to be low. Additionally, we hypothesised that higher mortality rates would be observed in more critically-ill patients," the author wrote.
As per the results, from April 3 to June 11, a total of 30,117 patients were in the programme out of which 21,987 received the plasma. It is said that the overall seven-day mortality rate dropped by 8.56 percent, which is lower than the rate observed in 5000 transfused patients.
"Data from the first 20,000 patients transfused with COVID-19 convalescent plasma demonstrate that use of convalescent plasma is safe and carries no excess risk of complications. Indeed, the convalescent plasma may be associated with improvement in survival, however, this report does not establish efficacy. Additionally, our data demonstrate that the US Health care system is improving in its care for those hospitalised for COVID-19 including managing those critically-ill patients with multiple comorbidities included in these analyses," concludes the author.