Infusion of plasma with antibodies seems to be useless as a therapy for COVID. If the initial tests are correct it makes a vaccine a distant dream.
Administering blood plasma with antibodies in many cases is unlikely to lead to faster recovery of hospitalized corona patients. Researchers from Erasmus MC and the Sanquin blood bank draw this conclusion in an interim evaluation of their research into the use of plasma.
They temporarily halted the study, also because few new patients are currently admitted to hospitals. The investigation will continue, but with a different approach.
The main question of the research is whether corona patients benefit from blood plasma from people who have recovered from an infection with the virus. The idea is that the antibodies that heal patients have in their blood may promote recovery. After 86 patients were treated in this way, the researchers reviewed their results. They found that three-quarters of the patients already made antibodies on the day of admission. On average, they had been ill for ten days when they received plasma from others.
The use of plasma does not go overboard with this. The researchers now want to change their design and specifically focus on patients who have not yet produced antibodies.
“We are thinking of patients who do not seem to heal on their own after a few days of illness, but who have not yet been hospitalized,” says lead researcher Bart Rijnders. “People who are already more vulnerable and therefore more likely to be admitted to hospital could also be eligible.”