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Pilot Study Suggests the Feasibility of Convalescent Plasma Therapy for COVID-19

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A pilot study suggests the feasibility of convalescent plasma (CP) therapy for treating COVID-19 patients. No specific antiviral treatments exist for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, creating a need for alternative treatment strategies.

Zhu Chen, Xinxin Zhang, Xiaoming Yang, and colleagues explored the feasibility of CP therapy for COVID-19 treatment in a pilot study of 10 severe COVID-19 patients, aged 34-78 years. The enrolled patients received transfusion of one dose of 200 ml CP derived from recently recovered donors, containing high levels of SARS-COV-2 neutralizing antibody. Within 3 days of CP transfusion, clinical symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain, significantly improved, and patients exhibited increased lymphocyte counts, improved liver and lung function, and reduced inflammation. Neutralizing antibody levels increased or remained high after CP transfusion.

Within 7 days of transfusion, varying degrees of reabsorption of lung lesions were observed on chest CT scans. In addition, no serious adverse reactions were observed after CP transfusion. The results, though preliminary, suggest that CP therapy might be a safe and promising treatment for severe COVID-19 patients and support further investigation in randomized controlled clinical trials, according to the authors.

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

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