Study finds convalescent plasma futile as treatment for most critically ill COVID-19 patients

Oct. 7, 2021

An international research has team concluded convalescent plasma is “futile” as a COVID-19 treatment for most critically ill patients based on the results of a clinical trial, according to a news release from UPMC.

The results are published in JAMA concurrent with presentation at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine’s annual meeting.

Researchers included scientists from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford England.

The findings are the latest from REMAP-CAP (Randomized, Embedded, Multifactorial, Adaptive Platform Trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia), which has enrolled thousands of patients in hundreds of hospitals around the world to quickly determine what COVID-19 treatments work best in which patients.

In the convalescent plasma trial, REMAP-CAP enrolled 2,011 adults hospitalized with severe COVID-19. They were randomized to either receive two units of convalescent plasma or no plasma and followed to see if the likelihood of surviving at least three weeks without needing organ support, such as a ventilator, differed based on whether they were treated or not.

The trial concluded for futility when enough data was collected to say with greater than 99% certainty that convalescent plasma did not help critically ill COVID-19 patients.

However, the results followed a slightly different pattern for the 126 patients who were immunocompromised. This group appeared to do slightly better with the convalescent plasma treatment compared to the standard treatment, but the number of patients was too small to make a definitive statement.

The researchers could not determine why convalescent plasma did not improve outcomes in most critically ill patients.

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