Safety Update: COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma in 20,000 Hospitalized Patients

Mayo Clin Proc. 2020 Sep;95(9):1888-1897. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.06.028. Epub 2020 Jul 19.


Objective: To provide an update on key safety metrics after transfusion of convalescent plasma in hospitalized coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) patients, having previously demonstrated safety in 5000 hospitalized patients.

Patients and methods: From April 3 to June 2, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration Expanded Access Program for COVID-19 convalescent plasma transfused a convenience sample of 20,000 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 convalescent plasma.

Results: The incidence of all serious adverse events was low; these included transfusion reactions (n=78; <1%), thromboembolic or thrombotic events (n=113; <1%), and cardiac events (n=677, ~3%). Notably, the vast majority of the thromboembolic or thrombotic events (n=75) and cardiac events (n=597) were judged to be unrelated to the plasma transfusion per se. The 7-day mortality rate was 13.0% (12.5%, 13.4%), and was higher among more critically ill patients relative to less ill counterparts, including patients admitted to the intensive care unit versus those not admitted (15.6 vs 9.3%), mechanically ventilated versus not ventilated (18.3% vs 9.9%), and with septic shock or multiple organ dysfunction/failure versus those without dysfunction/failure (21.7% vs 11.5%).

Conclusion: These updated data provide robust evidence that transfusion of convalescent plasma is safe in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, and support the notion that earlier administration of plasma within the clinical course of COVID-19 is more likely to reduce mortality.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy*
  • Critical Illness
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Safety*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy*
  • United States
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 serotherapy