Passive immunotherapy in AIDS: a randomized trial of serial human immunodeficiency virus-positive transfusions of plasma rich in p24 antibodies versus transfusions of seronegative plasma

J Infect Dis. 1992 Feb;165(2):364-8. doi: 10.1093/infdis/165.2.364.


To assess the place of passive immunotherapy in the treatment of AIDS, a randomized study was conducted that evaluated the safety and short-term efficacy of serial transfusions of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) seropositive plasma in 18 patients. Heat-inactivated anti-HIV antibody-rich plasma was compared with seronegative fresh-frozen seronegative plasma given in addition to zidovudine and other conventional prophylactic treatments. Seven transfusions every 2 weeks of immune plasma significantly reduced (2 vs. 8, P = .016) the number of opportunistic infections. Antigenemia became undetectable. When transfusions were stopped, positive p24 antigenemia returned at a level higher than before treatment and was correlated with a severe clinical deterioration, suggesting a rebound effect. This trial suggests that passive immunotherapy is promising in AIDS treatment. It confirms also that plasma donation does not affect donors' CD4 cell count over a 1-year period. In patients with severe immunodeficiency, special attention should be paid to withdrawal of an effective therapy as virologic relapse may be explosive and poorly tolerated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / therapy*
  • Blood Transfusion*
  • Blotting, Western
  • HIV Antibodies / therapeutic use*
  • HIV Antigens / blood
  • HIV Core Protein p24 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive*
  • Opportunistic Infections / prevention & control
  • Plasma / immunology


  • HIV Antibodies
  • HIV Antigens
  • HIV Core Protein p24