Plasma Therapy involves transfusion of antibodies from recovered COVID-19 (convalescent coronavirus patient) to a critical patient based on the principle that the blood of a recovered patient is rich in antibodies needed to combat COVID-19 in the absence of drugs to cure Coronavirus infection or vaccines to prevent COVID-19.
The use of convalescent plasma started declining late in 2020 after several large clinical trials showed no apparent benefit but a new study in the journal eLife by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues suggests decline in the use of convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients might have led to higher COVID-19 mortality from November 2020 to February 2021.
They compared the number of units of plasma distributed to U.S. hospitals from blood banks on a per patient basis to the number of reported COVID-19 deaths per hospital admission across the country.
Even the clinical trials with negative results used plasma mainly as an antiviral treatment did not explore its effect late in the course of COVID-19.
So, this study urges physicians, policymakers, and regulator to consider the totality of the available evidence including this study findings for making decisions about convalescent plasma use in individual COVID-19 patients.