Universidad del Rosario – Convalescent Plasma

COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), a coronavirus that is believed to have originated from bats in China, as it has close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses.

One of the most effective ways to prevent a disease caused by a virus is the development of a vaccine. Vaccines typically contain the deactivated virus or specific elements that entice the immune system to develop antibodies against it. Antibodies bind to the viral units and help the immune system recognize and destroy them.

However, the creation of a vaccine takes a long time, as it must go through a full cycle of preclinical and clinical trials. Another source of antibodies is the plasma of another patient who has recovered from the same disease (convalescent plasma). Injection of plasma containing antibodies has been used to treat diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, and viral respiratory diseases for over a century.

FDA recently approved use of convalescent plasma to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients [1, 2] after several case reports in which it proved to be effective in significantly reducing viral load [3, 4].

Universidad del Rosario has initiated a pilot Phase 2 single-group open-label clinical study in 10 participants in order to assess the effect of convalescent plasma on viral load and disease outcome [5]. The primary completion date is August 2020, and full results are expected in December 2020.

References

  1. Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma – Emergency INDs
  2. Tanne, J. H. (2020). Covid-19: FDA approves use of convalescent plasma to treat critically ill patients.
  3. Zhang, B., Liu, S., Tan, T., Huang, W., Dong, Y., Chen, L., … & Zou, Y. (2020). Treatment with convalescent plasma for critically ill patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Chest.
  4. Shen, C., Wang, Z., Zhao, F., Yang, Y., Li, J., Yuan, J., … & Wei, J. (2020). Treatment of 5 Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 With Convalescent Plasma. JAMA.
  5. Convalescent Plasma for Patients With COVID-19: A Pilot Study