Lessons learned from the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 and specific considerations for immunocompromised patients

Transfus Apher Sci. 2022 Jun;61(3):103355. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2022.103355. Epub 2022 Jan 13.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) convalescent plasma (CovCP) infusions have been widely used for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The aims of this narrative review were to analyze the safety and efficacy of CovCP infusions in the overall population and in immunocompromised patients with COVID-19 and to identify the lessons learned concerning the use of convalescent plasma (CP) to fill treatment gaps for emerging viruses. Systematic searches (PubMed, Scopus, and COVID-19 Research) were conducted to identify peer-reviewed articles and pre-prints published between March 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021 on the use of CovCP for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. From 261 retrieved articles, 37 articles reporting robust controlled studies in the overall population of patients with COVID-19 and 9 articles in immunocompromised patients with COVID-19 were selected. While CovCP infusions are well tolerated in both populations, they do not seem to improve clinical outcomes in critically-ill patients with COVID-19 and no conclusion could be drawn concerning their potential benefits in immunocompromised patients with COVID-19. To be better prepared for future epidemics/pandemics and to evaluate potential benefits of CP treatment, only CP units with high neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) titers should be infused in patients with low NAb titers, patient eligibility criteria should be based on the disease pathophysiology, and measured clinical outcomes and methods should be comparable across studies. Even if CovCP infusions did not improve clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19, NAb-containing CP infusions remain a safe, widely available and potentially beneficial treatment option for future epidemics/pandemics.

Keywords: COVID-19; Convalescent plasma; Efficacy; Immunosuppression; Pandemic; Safety.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Serotherapy
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive / methods
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2