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Source: United Kingdom – Science Media Centre

A paper published in NEJM looks at the clinical outcomes of patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia treated with convalescent plasma, compared to those who received a placebo.

Please note that at the time of writing this comment only the abstract of the paper was available:

Prof Martin Landray, Professor of Medicine & Epidemiology, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, said:

“There is substantial interest in convalescent plasma as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  But there remains considerable uncertainty about whether it is effective in tackling the worst effects of the disease.  In the United States, over 100,000 patients have received this treatment and the FDA has granted an emergency use authorisation.  However, the only randomised trials reported to date have been fairly small – and here is another one, with less than 350 patients included in the whole trial.  This trial would need to be substantially larger to pick up a meaningful sign of benefit and even then there would still be questions about whether different types of patient respond better or worse.

“Here in the UK, the RECOVERY trial is studying this important question at NHS hospitals across the country.  The NHS Blood Transfusion Service is collecting convalescent plasma from people who have had coronavirus.  The convalescent plasma is then tested and those units with the highest levels of antibodies are then used as part of the trial.  Nearly 5000 patients have taken part in this particular part of the RECOVERY trial so far and we continue to enroll patients in order to ensure that we get clear answers that will give doctors the information they need to treat future patients.  We anticipate answers will become available within the next couple of months and possibly before Christmas.”

‘A randomized trial of convalescent plasma in Covid-19 severe pneumonia’ by V. A. Simonovich et al. was published in the NEJM at 22:00 UK time on Tuesday 24 November 2020.

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2031304

All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:

Declared interests

Prof Martin Landray: “- Co-chief investigator of the RECOVERY trial of potential treatments for COVID-19 (funded by UKRI and NIHR; contributions to supply of study treatment from Abbvie, Roche, and Regeneron).

– Research funding to University of Oxford received from Novartis, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Merck Sharp & Dohme.-

– Infrastructure and core funding received from Health Data Research UK, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, UK Biobank Ltd, MRC Population Health Research Unit, and British Heart Foundation Centre for Research Excellence.

– Employee of University of Oxford with salary supported by Li Ka Shing Foundation, Health Data Research UK, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Wellcome Trust, and National Health Service.

– I do not accept personal honoraria payments directly or indirectly from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or food industries although reimbursement to the University of Oxford for the costs of travel and accommodation to participate in scientific meetings may be accepted. I hold no shares in and receive no consultancy payments directly or indirectly from tobacco, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or food companies. I comply with the Independence of Research Policy of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, Universityy of Oxford. For details see:”

MIL OSI United Kingdom