Convalescent Plasma Is Looking Like A Coronavirus Success Story
As we await a coronavirus vaccine, the spotlight in COVID-19 treatments is returning to antibodies, the body’s natural defenses against viruses.
On Monday, federal health officials kicked off two large clinical trials of synthetic antibodies to treat mild, moderate, and hospitalized coronavirus cases. A biotech firm is starting a related trial in nursing homes. And the FDA is expected to soon give emergency authorization to treating patients with the “convalescent plasma” of COVID-19 survivors — the part of blood that is rich in antibodies.
While almost no US hospitals were using convalescent plasma treatment before April, it is now administered to an estimated 1,500 patients a day in around 2,000 hospitals nationwide. And antibodies look only more likely to expand in use until a vaccine arrives. A preliminary analysis of data from about 50,000 patients presented to the FDA on Saturday at a Mayo Clinic symposium found a 10% drop in deaths among critically ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients given plasma with higher concentrations of antibodies compared to those given lower dose ones.
But since plasma treatment relies on people continuing to get sick and recover …continued .