Convalescent plasma shows no benefit for COVID-19 patients in clinical trial

Convalescent plasma taken from COVID-19 survivors in India had no benefit for COVID-19 patients in a clinical trial, according to study results published Oct. 22 in The BMJ

The trial found that the treatment didn’t affect whether COVID-19 patients got sicker or died. An earlier analysis from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic had shown it did have some benefit, which prompted the FDA to grant it emergency use authorization in August, but that study didn’t have a control arm, STAT reported. 

“I don’t know whether it is enough to lead the FDA to withdraw its authorization for this, but it certainly suggests it’s not the lifesaver that people thought it would be,” Susan Ellenberg, PhD, professor of biostatistics in and epidemiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, told STAT

The study enrolled 464 adults at 39 hospitals. More than 80 percent of patients had already developed their own antibodies against COVID-19 by the time they received the convalescent plasma, which suggests they had contracted the virus a week or more before they received the treatment, STAT reported. 

Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told STAT the study was inconclusive because researchers already knew convalescent plasma needs to be given earlier on  o benefit patients. 

Read the full study results here.

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