In the state of Guanajuato, as in other parts of the world, efforts are underway to conduct controlled clinical trials using plasma from patients recovered from COVID-19. So far, 14 patients have been treated, three of whom died, and eleven recovered, according to data from the Guanajuato Health Department.
Dr. Gerardo Torres, director of the State Center for Transfusion Medicine (CEMT) of the State Health Department, pointed out that the trials will test the effectiveness of the plasma transfusion technique and will help determine if this type of treatment is best used as a preventative measure, something to initiate during the early stages of the disease, or as a last resort in seriously ill patients.
The research will also help answer questions about the amount of antibodies sick patients need, how long it takes for patients to show a positive reaction to the transfusion, and how long the protection they develop lasts. Dr. Torres explained that plasma transfusion therapy means that a patient receives antibodies from a person who has overcome the virus. “It is passive antibody therapy because instead of waiting for the body to create its own antibodies, as is the case with vaccines, antibodies are transfused into the patient via plasma,” said Dr. Torres.
Similar studies in China show that plasma transfusion can have good results. Those tests, however, were not carried out with a control group, and the research being conducted in Guanajuato can help verify or discredit those results. The convalescent plasma technique has already been studied and showed positive results in epidemics of other respiratory diseases, such as SARS in 2003, H1N1 influenza in 2009, and MERS in 2012.
Currently, the plasma that is being used comes from recovered patients at COVID-19 hospitals in the state. CEMT is looking for others who have recovered from the infection to participate in the convalescent plasma research and requests that recovered patients who are willing to make a blood donation call 477 713 5212.