Previously experts suggested obtaining plasma from Covid-19 patients who recovered as they contained antibodies against the virus. The plasma seemed to help the seriously ill patients recover from the disease. However, new research shows that the plasma might not benefit them against the lethal disease.
The study was published recently in the journal BMJ.
The researchers conducted the first human trial which showed the convalescent plasma effect on ill and dying Covid-19 patients. Experts approved the use of convalescent plasma in the US and India on an emergency basis.
The researchers tested if this treatment is effective for patients with mild symptoms of coronavirus. According to the researchers, the plasma did not show much effectiveness against the virus in Covid-19 patients.
They also mentioned that further studies in this aspect can help them determine if the plasma with a higher concentration of neutralizing antibodies proves more effective against the infection.
Currently, there are no definite treatments available for Covid-19 patients. The coronavirus vaccine is still under trials and experts suggest that the vaccine will not be available before 2021. Hence, scientists are looking for any temporary treatment to save people against lethal coronavirus.
Previously, experts suggested extracting the plasma from recovered patients of coronavirus as they contained antibodies in the blood. The idea was to eliminate the infection from a person who is terminally ill with the virus using antibodies from a recovered individual.
This technique is not new and it was used for the first in 1892 against diphtheria. Later, this technique proved effective against SARS and Ebola virus as well. These viruses come from the same viral family as Coronavirus. Researchers used the plasma for coronavirus patients and observations showed that this technique is effective against Covid-19 as well.
Recently, the clinical trials conducted in India show that the technique has limited efficacy against the infection. Also, it did not prevent death due to the infection in people with severe coronavirus infection or those who have mild symptoms.
The study included 464 on average 52 years old coronavirus patients. The researchers distributed the patients randomly into 2 groups. The first group was the control group that included 229 patients and the other group included 235 patients.
The first group received standard care facilities from hospitals and the other group received convalescent plasma containing antibodies. They also received hospital care alongside the plasma.
According to the data obtained from this study, 41 patients in the first group and 44 patients in the second group died within 28 days of treatment. The researchers mentioned that the results show the death rate is the same in both groups despite the plasma given to the second group of patients.
Even though the plasma does not seem to lower the death rate in coronavirus patients, it helped the patients with other symptoms of the disease. The patients experienced less fatigue and shortness of breath after receiving the plasma.
The researchers also mentioned that the antibodies helped neutralize the virus that led to a negative test after seven days. Experts are hopeful that plasma with a higher content of antibodies can better help neutralize the coronavirus infection.