• Hilary Kim

Praise for Plasma?

Recently, an important focus in research is the effectiveness of convalescent plasma on patients with COVID-19. While many reports of these studies and words from President Trump sound promising, other reports are hesitant about or refute the positive effects of convalescent plasma on COVID-19 patients. It is important to recognize the levels of definitiveness in these reports, and the measures that must be taken from any conclusive data.

Convalescent plasma is the “yellowish” liquid portion of blood in patients who have recovered from COVID-19. The antibodies that the recovered patient used to combat COVID-19 are found in this part of the blood, rendering plasma or particular interest. Scientists are trying to determine whether or not the antibodies in convalescent plasma can help an infected patient recover, and their studies have not yet been conclusive. It is still unknown if convalescent plasma is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.

There is data that seemingly supports the notion that plasma helps infected patients fight off COVID-19. However, these results do not come from isolated studies. Patients that recover from the novel coronavirus using convalescent plasma also received treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, among other drugs that could contribute to their recovery. Furthermore, the mortality rate of COVID-19 hovers around 10%, suggesting that perhaps these patients recovered on their own despite treatment with convalescent plasma and several other drugs.

Because convalescent plasma has not yet been proven to help COVID-19 patients recover, it is crucial that those with the virus recognize the dangers of their situation, and that those who have not yet been infected follow the CDC guidelines to limit the spread of the virus. Although it is possible that convalescent plasma can treat COVID-19, there is no data that demonstrates its effectiveness and safety in isolation. Hence, as the world races to alleviate the negative effects of this global pandemic, for the sake of correct information, it is necessary to have reservations about the benefits of convalescent plasma until further notice.