Convalescent plasma therapy for Covid-19: A systematic review

Natl Med J India. 2020 Jul-Aug;33(4):213-221. doi: 10.4103/0970-258X.296202.


Background: Covid-19 has emerged as a pandemic affecting more than 20 million people till date with few, if any, proven therapy. Convalescent plasma (CP) containing antibodies against the virus has been used with some success. We did a systematic review to synthesize the available data on CP therapy for treatment of Covid-19 to study the efficacy and safety outcomes.

Methods: Two reviewers searched the published and pre-published literature between 1 January 2019 and 23 June 2020 for studies comparing the use of CP with standard therapy for Covid-19 patients. Data from the selected studies were abstracted and analysed for efficacy and safety outcomes. Critical appraisal of the evidence was done by using the Joanna Briggs Institute tool and the quality of evidence was graded as per GRADE.

Results: We found 13 case series and 1 randomized trial that fulfilled our search criteria. Of the 12 case series with a total of 264 patients that reported the efficacy outcomes, 11 studies showed favourable results with survival benefit. The only RCT with 103 patients did not show any mortality benefit but was terminated early prior to complete enrolment. A single large study of 5000 patients reported safety outcomes and showed no major adverse events in patient streated with CP.

Conclusion: There is very low-quality evidence to suggest efficacy and safety of CP in patients with Covid-19 infection. Well-designed randomized trials are urgently needed to provide robust data.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • COVID-19 / therapy*
  • COVID-19 Serotherapy
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive / adverse effects
  • Immunization, Passive / methods
  • Patient Safety
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome