Can blood plasma help in recovery for coronavirus patients?
London - Donated blood from coronavirus survivors may help those with the virus recover, a study suggests.
Researchers gave ten severely ill coronavirus patients, some of whom were on ventilators, blood plasma from others who had fought off the virus.
Three were discharged from hospital, while seven saw their condition improve, from reduced lung damage to coughs and fever fading away.
When researchers compared ten similar people in the same Chinese hospitals, also in a severe condition, three died and six remained in a stable condition, with only one showing improvement.
This raises hopes that donated blood could be used as a treatment for the virus as it harnesses the antibodies of people who have survived.
But experts caution that far more research is needed. It cannot be known if the patients, who were also given various drugs, would have recovered anyway.
Nonetheless the small study, involving Jiao Tong University in China and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said plasma is a "promising rescue option".
But in the study only half saw a rise in their antibodies. Despite this, the patients did see reduced inflammation – which can lead to pneumonia – and less coughing with a reduced fever.
One 49-year-old woman saw the white patches showing lung damage on her CT scan disappear and two people were moved off ventilators.
But Sir Munir Pirmohamed, president of the British Pharmacological Society, said these results must be treated with caution. He added: "This was not a randomised trial and all patients also received other treatments."
Two elderly South Korean coronavirus patients recovered from severe pneumonia after being treated with plasma from survivors, said a hospital on Tuesday.Daily Mail