A new study of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 says that the technique of plasma transfusions could improve the survival rates if they’re done early enough.
While this did happen at New York Mt. Sinai’s hospital, it hasn’t undergone the normal peer review process that’s needed for publication within medical or scientific resources. But during the coronavirus emergency, many researchers are giving out the results when they can get them. About 18% of patients who had the plasma ended up worsening, but the 24% of those who did get it ended up getting better with time.
After 16 days, 13% of the recipients died, which is compared to the 24% of the controlled ones. 72% of them were discharged compared to the 67% in the control group. So it did conclude that this could be a potentially efficacious treatment for those with COVID-19, but there is some data that suggests that the non-intubated patients might benefit more than those who need ventilators.
However, this does come with one caveat and that this is a retrospective case controlled study, and it doesn’t have the rigor that the randomized controlled testing will need to be done. But this does show some promise that the plasma is effective as a solution. This is an approach that might provide the first solid data for those who wat to protect themselves against this disease.
This is also in comparison to other treatments for example, hydroxychloroquine and remdesvir. These were other treatments that would supposedly help with fighting this disease, but that isn’t the case. The plasma variant has a much higher improvement in survival compared to these other drugs.
However, there was no significant improvement for the intubated patients before this therapy, but that might be because the lung damage was too severe to respond to the treatment that is happening. That means that it may not work for those who need ventilation, and an alternative solution needs to be found in that case.
This was originally raised in March when a paper published it, since this was a procedure that was used during the polio, influenza, measles, and mumps outbreaks. It was also used during H1N1 along with the Ebola epidemic to decent results.
While every virus and disease is of course different, this does provide a reassuring and useful possible hope during all of this happening right now. This might be good as well for developing plasma treatments too over time.
While the latest study is promising, experts do advise against the search for a treatment that’s quick for it, since they don’t want a repeat of the other drugs where it was used without any evidence of efficacy and safety, thereby making this worse. They don’t want this to be a flavor of the month treatment, but instead something that could potentially help those who want a legitimate coronavirus treatment.
We have to wait and see though if this works. While there is a lot of research being done, they’re working as fast as they can to stop this mass pandemic from getting worse.