Convalescent plasma for patients with severe COVID-19: a matched cohort study

Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 10;ciaa1548. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1548. Online ahead of print.


Background: The efficacy of convalescent plasma (CP) for the treatment of COVID-19 remains unclear.

Methods: In a matched cohort analysis of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, the impact of CP treatment on in-hospital mortality was evaluated using univariate and multivariate Cox proportional-hazards models, and the impact of CP treatment on time to hospital discharge was assessed using a stratified log-rank analysis.

Results: 64 patients who received CP a median of 7 days after symptom onset were compared to a matched control group of 177 patients. The incidence of in-hospital mortality was 12.5% and 15.8% in the CP and control groups, respectively (p = 0.52). There was no significant difference in the risk of in-hospital mortality between the two groups (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.93, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.39 - 2.20). The overall rate of hospital discharge was not significantly different between the two groups (rate ratio [RR] 1.28, 95% CI 0.91 - 1.81), although there was a significantly increased rate of hospital discharge among patients 65-years-old or greater who received CP (RR 1.86, 95% CI 1.03 - 3.36). There was a greater than expected frequency of transfusion reactions in the CP group (2.8% reaction rate observed per unit transfused).

Conclusions: We did not demonstrate a significant difference in risk of mortality or rate of hospital discharge between the CP and control groups. There was a signal for improved outcomes among the elderly, and further adequately powered randomized studies should target this subgroup when assessing the efficacy of CP treatment.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; convalescent plasma; efficacy.