Convalescent plasma therapy has 'no significant effect’ on hospitalized COVID-19 patients — study

Published December 9, 2021, 2:37 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Using convalescent plasma transfusion as adjunctive therapy may not help prevent disease progression among hospitalized coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Thursday, Dec. 9.


Results of the country’s clinical trial on the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma transfusion as adjunctive therapy against COVID-19 showed that convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) has “no significant effect” on hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

“Results of the study show that using convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) as an addition to standard-of-care for COVID-19 patients renders no significant effect,” DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said during the virtual “Talakayang HeaRTBeat” on DOST’s BIG 21 in 2021-COVID-19 Projects on Thursday.

Convalescent plasma is taken from the blood of those who recovered from a disease such as COVID-19, and contains neutralizing bodies against it, he said.

“No significant differences were also observed in terms of preventing the need for ICU admission among those who received the standard-of-care alone versus those who received the CPT as an adjunct treatment,” the DOST chief noted.

Led by the University of the Philippines Manila-Philippine General Hospital (UPM-PGH), the study was completed on June 30 this year. A total of 165 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at PGH participated in the clinical trial.

“Likewise, administering CPT also did not cause significant effect for secondary outcomes, which includes: preventing 28-day mortality and cardiopulmonary arrest; decreasing the need for vasopressors, dialysis, or ventilator; reducing the length of hospital stay; and improving the quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) scores on discharge,” de la Peña said.

“It is important to note that interpretation of the results is limited due to the early termination of the trial, but findings are congruent to the results of bigger international trials.”

The 12 month-long project, led by Dr. Deonne Thaddeus Gauiran of UP-PGH employed a randomized, non-placebo controlled, open-label, single-centre clinical trial.

It is funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

The clinical trial was aimed at evaluating whether administering convalescent plasma as an addition to standard-of-care among hospitalized COVID-19 patients may aid their recovery and prevent disease progression.

It specifically sought to compare the anti-SARS-CoV-2 titers between the study and control groups at days 0, 1, 7 and 14 (additional day 28, as needed); and to compare the rates, levels and duration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in nasopharyngeal swabs or other specimen types using RT-PCR between the study and control groups at days 0, 1, 7 and 14