Convalescent plasma therapy is ‘futile’ as a treatment for most critically ill COVID-19 patients, the recent study published in the journal JAMA says. The coronavirus made the scientists intensify the researchers to find a better and faster way to treat the COVID-19 patients.
The REMAP-CAP trial has enrolled thousands of patients in hundreds of hospitals globally. It aimed at quick determination what COVID-19 treatments work best in which patients, said study co-lead author Bryan McVerry, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPMC) in the United States.
“There were biologically plausible reasons to turn to convalescent plasma early in the pandemic when hundreds of thousands of people were getting sick and treatments had yet to be discovered,” he added.
After one year of the epidemic and multiple studies, the researchers said using convalescent plasma should be stopped for treating the sickest coronavirus victims. The focus should be on treatments that are known to work, as well as developing and testing better ones, they said.
In the convalescent plasma trial, REMAP-CAP enrolled 2,011 adults hospitalised with severe COVID-19. They were randomised to either receive two units of convalescent plasma or no plasma. The researchers could not determine why convalescent plasma did not improve outcomes in most critically ill patients.
The researchers suggest that it could be a combination of too few high-quality antibodies in the plasma, CBS Pittsburg reports. In other words, these patients being too far along in their illness with a run-away inflammatory immune response for those antibodies to turn the tide.
According to the study, it is still possible that convalescent plasma helps people in earlier stages of illness, though it is not efficient to use given that monoclonal antibodies are such an effective treatment for early corona pathogen.