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. 2020 Apr 28;117(17):9490-9496.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.2004168117. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

Effectiveness of Convalescent Plasma Therapy in Severe COVID-19 Patients

Free PMC article

Effectiveness of Convalescent Plasma Therapy in Severe COVID-19 Patients

Kai Duan et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. .
Free PMC article


Currently, there are no approved specific antiviral agents for novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this study, 10 severe patients confirmed by real-time viral RNA test were enrolled prospectively. One dose of 200 mL of convalescent plasma (CP) derived from recently recovered donors with the neutralizing antibody titers above 1:640 was transfused to the patients as an addition to maximal supportive care and antiviral agents. The primary endpoint was the safety of CP transfusion. The second endpoints were the improvement of clinical symptoms and laboratory parameters within 3 d after CP transfusion. The median time from onset of illness to CP transfusion was 16.5 d. After CP transfusion, the level of neutralizing antibody increased rapidly up to 1:640 in five cases, while that of the other four cases maintained at a high level (1:640). The clinical symptoms were significantly improved along with increase of oxyhemoglobin saturation within 3 d. Several parameters tended to improve as compared to pretransfusion, including increased lymphocyte counts (0.65 × 109/L vs. 0.76 × 109/L) and decreased C-reactive protein (55.98 mg/L vs. 18.13 mg/L). Radiological examinations showed varying degrees of absorption of lung lesions within 7 d. The viral load was undetectable after transfusion in seven patients who had previous viremia. No severe adverse effects were observed. This study showed CP therapy was well tolerated and could potentially improve the clinical outcomes through neutralizing viremia in severe COVID-19 cases. The optimal dose and time point, as well as the clinical benefit of CP therapy, needs further investigation in larger well-controlled trials.

Keywords: COVID-19; convalescent plasma; pilot project; treatment outcome.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing interest.


Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Chest CTs of two patients. (A) Chest CT of patient 9 obtained on February 9 (7 dpoi) before CP transfusion (10 dpoi) showed ground-glass opacity with uneven density involving the multilobal segments of both lungs. The heart shadow outline was not clear. The lesion was close to the pleura. (B) CT Image of patient 9 taken on February 15 (13 dpoi) showed the absorption of bilateral ground-glass opacity after CP transfusion. (C) Chest CT of patient 10 was obtained on February 8 (19 dpoi) before CP transfusion (20 dpoi). The brightness of both lungs was diffusely decreased, and multiple shadows of high density in both lungs were observed. (D) Chest CT of patient 10 on February 18 (29 dpoi) showed those lesions improved after CP transfusion.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Dynamic changes of laboratory parameters in all patients. The dotted horizontal line represents the reference value range. SaO2, oxyhemoglobin saturation; TBIL, total bilirubin; ALT, alanine aminotransferase; AST, aspartate aminotransferase; Lym, lymphocyte.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Change of laboratory parameters in patient 1. The x axis represents the day post-CP transfusion. The dotted horizontal line represents the reference value range.

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