The Promise of Convalescent Plasma

The Promise of Convalescent Plasma

The antibody-rich convalescent plasma donated by people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 can provide much-needed therapy for people ill with the disease. In a study published online on January 21 in JCI Insight, Einstein and Montefiore researchers led by Hyunah Yoon, M.D., and Liise-anne Pirofski, M.D., report that COVID-19 convalescent plasma, which contains SARS-CoV-2 binding antibodies, is effective for younger patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

One hundred and three severely ill COVID-19 patients received convalescent plasma within 72 hours of admission to Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx between April 13 to May 4, 2020.  Seventy-three of these patients were matched with 73 patients with COVID-19 admitted during the same period but who did not receive convalescent plasma. The authors found no difference in mortality or oxygenation between patients who received convalescent plasma and those who had not at day 28 following day of transfusion. However, when patients were stratified by age, those convalescent plasma recipients under age 65 had 4-fold lower mortality and 4-fold lower deterioration in oxygenation or mortality after a month compared with similarly-aged control patients. The authors emphasize that large controlled trials now underway are needed to validate their findings.

Dr. Pirofski is chief of infectious diseases at Einstein and Montefiore, professor of medicine, and of microbiology & immunology at Einstein. She is also the Selma and Dr. Jacques Mitrani Professor in Biomedical Research at Einstein. Dr. Yoon is an assistant professor of medicine at Einstein and an attending physician at Montefiore.

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