Convalescent plasma reduces mortality by 10% in COVID-19 patients in acute respiratory distress and on artificial respiratory assistance

Oct. 30, 2023
This is the conclusion of a multicenter study conducted by the University Hospital of Liège (CHU of Liège) in collaboration with 17 hospital intensive care departments in Belgium during the COVID-19 phases between October 2020 and March 2022.

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, clinicians and researchers from the CHU of Liège and the University of Liège show that the administration of plasma taken from convalescent donors after infection with Sars-CoV-2 to patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome requiring artificial mechanical ventilation significantly reduced mortality (10%).

The randomized trial involved 17 intensive care units in Belgian hospitals. It included a total of 475 patients during the different waves of COVID-19, from October 2020 to March 2022. A group of 237 patients received convalescent plasma, with the remaining 238 patients receiving standard care.

The reduction in mortality observed on day 28 was around 10% in the group of patients who received convalescent plasma up to five days after the administration of invasive mechanical ventilation (i.e. using endo-tracheal intubation). In this group, 35% of patients died, compared with 45% in the group of patients who received standard care. The effect on reducing mortality was more specifically observed in patients who received convalescent plasma during the first 48 hours after being put on artificial respiratory assistance.

Thanks to the collaboration of the Belgian Red Cross and the laboratories of the KULeuven, UAntwerpen and ULiège, the intensive care units of the study's partner hospitals were able to use convalescent plasma with high neutralizing antibody titers of 1/320 for 82.3% of patients and 1/160 for the remaining 17.7%.

University of Liège release on Newswise