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June 3, 2020

A Randomized Trial of Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19—Potentially Hopeful Signals

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • 3Montefiore Medical Center, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
JAMA. Published online June 3, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.10218

Convalescent plasma for the treatment of infectious diseases has been used since the early 20th century and was associated with reduced mortality during the 1918 influenza,1 2003 SARS,2 and 2009 influenza H1N13 pandemics. However, most published studies of these diseases were case series and retrospective comparisons of treated and nontreated individuals. Consistent with this, several uncontrolled case series of convalescent plasma use in patients with coronavirus disease (2019) COVID-19 have suggested a possible benefit.4-6 Given encouraging historical precedents and the absence of proven SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory disease coronavirus 2) antiviral therapies, convalescent plasma therapy has been proposed as a treatment option for COVID-19.7 The availability of clinical information generated from randomized clinical trials is therefore of substantial importance given that the world remains in the grip of the COVID-19 epidemic and convalescent plasma is currently in use in many countries, including the US.