Blood plasma transfusions with high concentrations of COVID-19 antibodies reduced deaths among some virus patients, according to a new study conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers, lending credibility to one of the few known treatments for the illness.
“Early administration of high-titer convalescent plasma against SARS-CoV-2 to mildly ill infected older adults reduced the progression of Covid-19,” the researchers concluded.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday, accompanied by an editorial explaining how the treatment works, titled, “(A Little) Clarity on Convalescent Plasma for Covid-19.”
“I think it behooves the medical community to continue to innovate and test therapies for treatment. Realistically, we’re months away from having a substantial number of people vaccinated,” Dr. R. Scott Wright, the coordinator of the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 plasma therapy program, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Patients who were given antibody-rich plasma in the first three days of treatment saw better outcomes, but the treatment was less effective on those who were treated longer and had to be put on ventilators, researchers found.
“Patients who were on ventilator did not see a benefit,” Dr. Wright told the Star-Tribune. “It was too late.”
The study reviewed 3,082 patients and found a 25% lower chance of death in patients that received antibody-rich plasma.