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Video: Plasma Study From COVID-19 Patients Yields Mixed Results
Plasma study from COVID-19 patients yields mixed results
Scientists believe that the effectiveness of this method for certain groups of patients needs to continue to be studied.
Photo: Frank Rohig / USAF
A small study, which was published in JAMA, could not conclusively confirm the effectiveness of plasma from recovered people in the treatment of COVID-19 in patients with severe disease. But scientists do not exclude that such therapy helps certain subgroups of patients.
The study involved 103 COVID-19 patients from seven medical centers in Wuhan. They were in critical condition (undergoing treatment in an intensive care unit) or were suffering the disease in a severe, but not life-threatening form. The plasma of the recovered people, which contained neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, was received by 53 people, they were randomly selected. The rest of the participants received standard treatment for the disease.
In the experimental treatment group, more patients (51.9%) were discharged from the hospital or experienced significant relief within 28 days after the onset of the disease than in the standard treatment group (43.1%). But scientists note that this difference is not significant.
More compelling were the separately considered rates of patients with severe but not life-threatening COVID-19. Such patients recovered on average five days earlier if they received plasma from those who had recovered, and they recovered significantly more often within 28 days.
The scientists planned to include 200 patients in this study. But since it was conducted in China at a time when the incidence was declining sharply, they could not find enough participants who met the required criteria. The authors suggest that this is why the study lacked the statistical power to demonstrate the plasma effect.
Scientists have named another difficulty in conducting such research. The selection of plasma donors is based on criteria that are based on limited scientific evidence. Therefore, plasma quality control is difficult.
In an editorial that accompanies this study at JAMA, American scientists agreed that this type of treatment does not work for patients requiring mechanical ventilation. But they noted positive trends and expressed the opinion that the effectiveness of plasma from COVID-19 patients should be further investigated. The remaining questions, in their opinion, can be removed only by large studies.