Convalescent plasma 'futile' in treating severe COVID-19 cases: research

Convalescent plasma 'futile' in treating severe COVID-19 cases: research
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Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh found that convalescent plasma treatment is "futile" to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients, according to findings from a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association

Convalescent plasma treatment involves taking blood containing antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients and infusing it into people who are currently fighting the virus.

The antibodies were thought to have some ability to help with the recovery process for active infections. Though the treatment style was successful for Ebola, it was deemed ineffective for most critically ill patients with COVID-19, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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"Despite other trial results, there’s still been a lot of interest in using this treatment for COVID-19 patients in the hospital," the University of Pittsburgh's Bryan McVerry, who was a co-lead author for the study, said to the Post-Gazette. 

"I think that the evidence we provide in this study should put to rest the question of whether there’s any benefit from this intervention in hospitalized patients," he added.

The study found that the treatment resulted in "a low likelihood of providing improvement" for severe COVID-19 patients who participated in the trial, but the research did not conclude why it was ineffective.

"We speculate that it could be a combination of too few high-quality antibodies in the plasma and these patients being too far along in their illness with a runaway inflammatory immune response for those antibodies to turn the tide," Derek Angus, a senior author for the study, told the Post-Gazette.

Despite the treatment's lack of success, McVerry added that the "prevention of hospitalization is the number one treatment for COVID-19, and that prevention comes in the form of vaccination," the Post-Gazette reported.