London- Convalescent blood plasma, which is expected to be one of the drug candidates for COVID-19, has not helped patients heal themselves from this infectious disease, according to clinical trials in India.
The results of clinical trials, which have been published in the BMJ British Medical Journal on Friday, show that convalescent plasma cannot reduce the death rate of COVID-19 patients.
Convalescent plasma, which contains antibodies from recovered patients, is given to COVID-19 patients as a treatment option.
The findings were obtained from a clinical trial that was followed by more than 400 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized.
The results of these clinical trials also show a setback in efforts to find a cure for COVID-19, even though US President Donald Trump, in August 2020, called convalescent plasma a “historic breakthrough”.
Meanwhile, other countries, including, are still encouraging recovered patients to donate blood plasma so that – if later proven effective – COVID-19 patients can immediately use the drug.
“The results of clinical trials … show that blood plasma has little impact on patients considering (the immune system, ed) the patient can fight the virus, but (blood plasma, red) this cannot help patients to recover after contracting an infectious disease,” said University of Reading molecular biologist Simon Clarke.
“In short, there is no clinical benefit for the patient (after being given conventional blood plasma),” he said.
The clinical trial in India was attended by 464 adult COVID-19 patients with moderate symptoms and all of them were hospitalized between April and July 2020.
The clinical trial participants were then divided into two groups, those who received two blood plasma transfusions and those who did not.
Seven days after the transfusion, those who received convalescent plasma showed improvement in some symptoms, such as shortness of breath and fatigue, say some researchers, and led to an increase in what is known as “negative conversion,” a sign that antibodies are working against the virus.
However, these results do not necessarily indicate that blood plasma can reduce mortality rates nor improve the condition of patients with severe disease symptoms within 28 days.
“Convalescent plasma performance in these clinical trials was disappointing, but not so surprising,” said University of Reading professor of virology, Ian Jones.
He said blood plasma might have more efficacy if it was given directly to a patient shortly after he was confirmed positive for COVID-19.
Jones also encouraged other researchers to continue clinical trials of convalescent plasma as a potential COVID-19 drug. However, he suggested that further research should involve COVID-19 patients who have just been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“We do not have a drug that can prevent the patient’s condition from worsening, and until this has become one of the options (treatment, ed), the important message is that we must keep trying not to be infected with the virus,” he said.ant / P-4