How Does IV Immunoglobulin Work for COVID-19?

October 24, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

An investigator shares detail into how the neutralizing, immune-signaling molecule may provide continued success against the virus.

New phase 1 data from a randomized, open-label assessment presented at IDWeek 2020 showed patients with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) at risk of ventilation needs had benefitted significantly from intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).

Study author George Sakoulas, MD, Associate Professor at University of California San Diego, presented the findings showing 3 times daily IVIG plus pre-infusion solumedrol 40 mg was associated with significantly reduced risk of mechanical ventilation, lengthier intensive care unit (ICU) stay, and shorter hospital stay.

So, as investigators undergo a phase 3 trial, why hasn’t the therapy candidate been discussed more?

In the second segment of an interview with Contagion® during IDWeek, Sakoulas discussed how immunoglobulin’s mechanism as both a neutralizing and “immune-signaling” molecule resulted in its observed benefit versus COVID-19’s observed vascular, inflammatory effects in patients.

The care team pursued further research only on the basis of anecdotal success and their review of retrospective data from China.

“It’s interesting,” Sakoulas said. “Surprisingly, it was not explored early on.”

Though the therapy is not an antiviral agent, Sakoulas highlighted potential long-term—and even improved—benefits.

“Going forward, as more people become blood donors by which IVIG is derived, we’re going to see some neutralized antibodies emerge in the products, and we may even have a second benefit of antiviral effects in the product,” he said.

Listen to the full interview with Sakoulas in the video above.