Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients with high levels of antibodies appeared to delay or stop progression of illness in mildly ill older adults infected with the novel coronavirus, a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded.

Researchers at Fundacion INFANT in Buenos Aires, Argentina, led the small randomized, controlled, double-blind trial of the effects of infusing convalescent plasma in 160 older adults within 72 hours of symptom onset from Jun 4 to Oct 25, 2020, half of whom received the treatment. The patients were either 75 years and older (88 [55%]), with or without underlying illnesses, or 65 to 74 years with at least one underlying condition (72 [45%]).

The trial was stopped early, at 76% of target enrollment, because COVID-19 cases substantially declined in Buenos Aires, precluding continued recruitment.

Of the 80 patients in the intention-to-treat population given convalescent plasma, 13 (16%) developed severe COVID-19, compared with 25 of 80 (31%) given a placebo (relative risk [RR], 0.52; RR reduction, 48%). Two participants in the convalescent plasma group (2.5%) and four in the placebo group (5%) died.

Modified analysis reveals larger effect

Credit: iStock fstop123

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