Patients who received the therapy had half the rate of mortality at 28 days after treatment.
The research was conducted by investigators from the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, in collaboration with Columbia University Irving Medical Center; ICAP at Columbia University; Instituto Nacional de Infectologia and Hospital Federal dos Servidores do Estado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; University of Washington; and New York Blood Center.
"This is the first clinical trial sponsored by the Global Alliance for Preventing Pandemics. It illustrates the role of international collaborations in responding to emerging infectious diseases," W. Ian Lipkin, an author on the study said.
For the study, the team of investigators conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that included 223 patients who were hospitalized with severe and critical COVID-19. The participants were randomized 2:1 to receive a single transfusion of either convalescent plasma or normal control plasma.
Results from the study showed that the patients who received the treatment had half the rate of mortality at 28 days in comparison to the control arm (12.6% vs. 24.6%). However, the treatment was not associated with any other clinical improvements.
Additionally, the study also showed a trend towards improved clinical status among the patients who received the plasma less than 7 days after the onset of symptoms.
"We should not close the door prematurely on research into the therapeutic value of convalescent plasma research for severe COVID-19, particularly in the context of emerging viral variants in low- and middle-income countries," Max R. O'Donnell, first author on the study said. "Locally donated convalescent plasma has the potential to be highly responsive to local viral ecology and sustainable, since many countries already have the infrastructure needed to collect and transfuse donated plasma."