Pilot study provides promising results for use of convalescent plasma as treatment for COVID-19

Chinese researchers have for the first time shown in a pilot study that the use of convalescent plasma from cured COVID-19 patients provides promising results in the treatment of others with more severe disease.
In the preprint study at medRxiv (http://doi.org/dqrs; 2020), K. Duan et al. report that the administration of a single, high-dose of neutralizing antibodies is safe and provides encouraging results with regards to the reduction of viral load and improvement of clinical outcomes.
In the study, ten severe patients confirmed by real-time viral RNA test were enrolled prospectively. One dose of 200 mL convalescent plasma (CP) derived from recently recovered donors with the neutralizing antibody titers above 1:640 was transfused to the patients as an addition to maximal supportive care and antiviral agents.
After CP transfusion, the level of neutralizing antibody increased rapidly up to 1:640 in five cases, while that of the other four cases maintained at a high level (1:640). All patients showed significant improvement in or complete disappearance of clinical symptoms – including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain – within 3 days.
The authors state that along with increased oxyhaemoglobin saturation – indicative of recuperating lung function – several parameters also improved, including increased lymphocyte counts and decreased C-reactive protein. Radiological examinations showed varying degrees of absorption of lung lesions within 7 days. The viral load was undetectable after transfusion in seven patients who had previous viremia. No severe adverse effects were observed.
The study shows that CP therapy could potentially improve clinical outcomes through neutralizing viremia in severe COVID-19 cases, however, the authors note that further investigation is needed in larger well-controlled trials to assess the optimal dose and time point.