Convalescent Plasma With More COVID-19 Antibodies is Safe and Effective

April 6, 2021
Killian Meara

The therapy used plasma from recoverees with high levels of antibodies and proved to significantly improve clinical outcomes.

A recent study published in the journal JCI Insights has found that convalescent plasma treatment is both safe and effective, significantly improving clinical outcomes. The research was conducted by investigators from Hackensack Meridian Health.

"We have developed this technique and methodology to save the lives of patients," Michele Donato, chief of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center and a lead author on the study said. "We believe our hard work is paying off."

For the study, the investigators split 51 patients into 2 groups, one in which patients were hospitalized but did not need mechanical breathing assistance, and one where patients did need breathing assistance. The patients all received plasma with high levels of antibodies, with almost all receiving viral neutralizing anti-spike protein levels at a proportion of 1:1000 or more.

The program at Hackensack University Medical Center uses a methodology developed by experts from the CDI to identify donors with the highest levels of neutralizing antibodies.

Findings from the study showed that the participants survived at a significantly higher rate at 30 days when compared to a group in another health network. The treatment was found to not only be safe, but successfully transferred the survivor’s antibodies and did not prevent the patient from created their own.

The success of these early results has led to an outpatient program where they are continuing the therapy in phase 2 testing.

"This is an example of how our health network leverages excellent laboratory work into clinical interventions," Ihor Sawczuk, president of Hackensack Meridian Health's Northern Market and the chief research officer of the network said. "Scientific research is helping to make a difference in this global pandemic."