WHO strongly advises against convalescent plasma for treating Covid patients

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  • The WHO guideline development group found that “there was no clear benefit for mortality and for important outcomes such as mechanical ventilation.”
  • Convalescent plasma therapy gives COVID patients a transfusion of blood plasma from someone who has recovered from the virus in the hope that the donor’s antibodies will help fight the infection.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration withdrew its convalescent plasma emergency use authorization in February.

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The World Health Organization on Monday issued a strong recommendation against administering convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19 patients, citing research that showed no improvement in patients receiving the treatment.

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In convalescent plasma therapy, blood plasma is donated by someone who has recovered from the virus and transferred to a patient battling the virus with the hope that the donor’s antibodies help fight the infection.

However, the WHO’s guideline development group found that “no clear benefits for patients with non-severe, severe or critical illness with significant resource requirements such as mortality and mechanical ventilation and significant resource requirements in terms of cost and time for administration.” Was.”

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The group said the treatment also faces practical challenges, such as finding and testing donors, as well as collecting, storing and transporting plasma.

The recommendation is based on 16 trials with over 16,000 patients with non-severe, severe and severe COVID infections. The group said research on the treatment should proceed into randomized control trials. The new recommendation is published in the British Medical Journal.

US Food and Drug Administration in February Withdrew his convalescent plasma emergency use authorization To cover hospitalized patients early in disease progression and hospitalized patients who have immune system disorders in which they cannot generate a strong antibody response.

“Plasma with low levels of antibodies has not been shown to be helpful in COVID-19,” the FDA said in its revised emergency authorization in February.

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The agency issued its original, comprehensive authorization in August 2020 for all hospitalized patients on an emergency basis in the US, when there were no other approved treatments for the virus. During the Trump administration, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar celebrated the use of convalescent plasma as a “milestone achievement” in efforts to fight COVID at the time.

Since then, the FDA has authorized two COVID treatments: Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir in October 2020 and Regeneron’s antibody cocktail the following month. Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine was approved about a year ago.

NS National Institutes of Health in August It also said convalescent plasma did not help patients in an NIH-supported study of more than 500 adult COVID patients at the University of Pittsburgh. The NIH said the trial was halted in February because of a lack of its effectiveness.

The New England Journal of Medicine, IA study published last month, found that convalescent plasma does not prevent disease progression in high-risk patients when administered one week after symptom onset. According to the study, clinical outcomes also did not improve in hospitalized patients late in the course of their illness.

However, the study found that convalescent plasma reduced disease progression in older, outpatient adults if administered within 72 hours of symptom onset.

Pfizer and Merck are now seeking emergency use authorization for oral antiviral drugs designed to reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID.


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