Plasma from coronavirus survivors found to help severely ill patients


(The Guardian) – Doctors have found tentative evidence that seriously ill coronavirus patients can benefit from infusions of blood plasma collected from people who have recovered from the disease.

Two teams of medics working at separate hospitals in China gave antibody-rich plasma to 15 severely ill patients and recorded striking improvements in many of them.

In one pilot study, doctors in Wuhan gave “convalescent plasma” to 10 severely ill patients and found that virus levels in their bodies dropped rapidly. Within three days, the doctors saw improvements in the patients’ symptoms, ranging from shortness of breath and chest pains to fever and coughs.

Xiaoming Yang, from the National Engineering Technology Research Center for Combined Vaccines in Wuhan, described the treatment as a “promising rescue option” for severely ill patients, but cautioned that a larger randomised trial was needed to confirm the findings. Details of the pilot study are reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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