U.S. health experts said Tuesday that they are stopping clinical trials of restorative blood plasma in patients with mild to moderate COVID symptoms, after preliminary results showed no benefit from the treatment.
The trial, which began in August, involved just over 500 people who went to emergency rooms but did not have to be hospitalized.
The people selected for the study also had risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes or heart problems.
Some of them received the treatment – blood plasma from people who had COVID and overcame it – and others received a placebo.
Doctors saw how much extra care or immediate hospitalization was needed, or who died, in the 15 days after treatment continued.
An independent group of experts determined that although the restorative plasma intervention did not cause harm, it was not likely to benefit patients, the National Institutes of Health said.
Convalescent plasma is the fluid portion of blood from a recovered COVID patient. It contains antibodies produced by the body after infection.
In late October, a study was conducted in India and published in the medical journal BMJ said the treatment offered limited effectiveness.
It does not reduce mortality or keep people with moderate COVID symptoms from developing a serious cause.
More than 100,000 people have received treatment in the U.S. since the onset of the pandemic and many more elsewhere in the world, the NIH said.
In late August, at the continued request of then-President Donald Trump, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for blood plasma transfusions of recovered COVID patients to people admitted to the hospital with the disease.
The then head of the FDA, Stephen Hahn, acknowledged a mistake at a press conference with Trump, and said he had cited figures that overestimated the benefits of the treatment.
The FDA recently restricted its emergency authorization for the use of plasma only with a high concentration of antibodies and for patients hospitalized with early stages of COVID or with a limited ability to produce antibodies.
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Quote: FS Stops Plasma Transfusion Trials for COVID Patients (2021, March 3) Retrieved March 3, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-03-halts-trials-plasma-transfusions-covid.html
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