Coronavirus: the plasma of cured people offers limited effectiveness

A short time ago, the recovery of patients affected by Covid-19 via the plasma of people cured of the Coronavirus carried a lot of hope. However, since then, a study has swept all this aside. However, we must remain cautious because research will continue with a plasma endowed with neutralizing antibodies and higher levels.

Plasma of people cured of Covid-19: limited effectiveness

If we are accustomed to the results of a study which recently appeared in the famous journal BMJ, it is not effective to perform transfusions on individuals suffering from the Coronavirus with plasma from people who have been affected but now healed. Indeed, it would not decrease their chance of being seriously ill or dying, according to a study published Friday in the medical journal BMJ.

As the number of treatments for the new Covid-19 turns out to be extremely small at the moment and research into vaccination continues, the plasma of healed people did not necessarily bring satisfaction. This study brought the first results of clinical trials thus making it possible to define the positive effects of a transfusion of this plasma (this is the liquid quantity of the blood focusing the antibodies following an illness), a technique already possible in some countries such as for example India or the USA.

As a treatment for people affected by the Covid-19 and suffering from moderate forms, convalescent plasma has shown limited efficacy: in any case, this is the conclusion of the study carried out in India which nevertheless calls for new research focusing on plasma with high levels of neutralizing antibodies. If we did some studies, the transfusion of plasma containing antibodies has been shown to be relevant to a treatment for the Ebola virus or SARS, which is also from the Covid-19 family. As for the Indian trial, however, the plasma had no positive effects. Is it because it has fewer antibodies?

The test results divide

For the Coronavirus, recent observational studies have shown a possible plasma efficiency. Nevertheless, in this randomized clinical trial (these are patients chosen via chance) carried out in dozens of public and private health facilities in India, experts found that this technique did not offer the possibility of reduce mortality or limit, for people moderately affected by Covid-19, the advance towards heavier symptoms.

The study, financially supported by the Indian Council for Medical Research, relied, between April and July of this year, on a group of 464 adult individuals, on average 52 years old. Then, he divided them at random into two groups: the control group had 229 patients and benefited from conventional care, while 235 other individuals experienced two convalescent plasma transfusions, with in addition to that conventional care. .

What are the conclusions of the study?

After 28 days, 44 individuals (which corresponds to 19% of all patients) from the plasma group and 41 people (approximately 18%) from the control group developed a severe form of the Coronavirus or died. By restricting the comparison to patients who received plasma with a detectable level of antibodies, the conclusions did not change. On the other hand, if we made ourselves to study, plasma transfusions offered the possibility of improving respiratory problems but also fatigue. In addition, Covid-19 was often less detectable after a week of illness!

In any case, according to the comment of a health expert in BMJ, the test carried out was reliable and serious. However, the British health service National Health Service, which has done identical tests with plasma, is for its part more cautious, pointing out that the Indian trial used donated plasma with six to ten times less antibodies than those collected in the UK. Finally, this health expert also said in BMJ that there were other promising aspects revealing that convalescent plasma with high levels of antibodies could significantly optimize the chances of recovery for people affected by Covid-19.

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