The Hospital La Fe de València, the Hospital San Joan d´Alacant and the Transfusion Center of the Valencian Community have launched a clinical trial to investigate whether the plasma of donors who have overcome COVID-19 infection can help improve the health of patients with uncertain prognosis.
Thus, four transfusions have been carried out: two at the Hospital La Fe de València, one at Sant Joan d'Alacant and the other at the Hospital Clinico de València.
Transfusion of hyperimmune plasma, obtained from people who have overcome the infection and contains neutralizing antibodies against the virus, is a therapeutic weapon that is being explored in cases where the rest of the treatments that set the current protocols fail.
"It is a race between the virus, which wants to continue replicating and injuring organs, and the patient, who must develop an effective immunity that counteracts it", in the words of Miguel Salavert, head of the Infectious Diseases Section of Hospital La Fe.
"If the patient can't win that race, we have to help him, and the way is to infuse plasma with lots of antibodies from hyperimmune donors", has indicated.
The first results are positive, as explained Gonzalo Salvador, associate physician of Internal Medicine in La Fe: "Our patient had been admitted for a month now, and after having tried other treatments, she continued to need immunosuppressive medication."
"Therefore, we consider that the best thing was to support her with this therapeutic weapon that we have to help her definitively eliminate the virus", has detailed. Today, women can walk without drowning.
The second case treated in La Fe is also evolving satisfactorily, and that of the Clinician "It has been an amazing recovery, we have been informed that she is already discharged and at home"Salavert has commented.
Clinical research is open to the collaboration of all Valencian centers: "It is an ambitious study. We would like to reach 200 patients (from donors the necessary ones will be done) and 200 controls, that is, 200 plasma recipient patients (100 immunocompetent patients and 100 immunosuppressed patients) and a similar number of control group", has indicated Marino Blanes, associate doctor in the Infectious Diseases Unit of Hospital La Fe.
In other words, people who are offered this treatment, will be dismissed and will be given the rest of the treatments that are routinely applied to these patients and, in the absence of confirmed effective therapy, this is an open route recommended by national and international organizations "Marino Blanes has detailed.
On the other hand, Francisco Jover, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit of the Hospital de Clínico Universitario de Sant Joan in Alicante, has indicated that "the first two patients are from the first phase of the pandemic and had not responded to the initial treatments. The profile of the other two patients corresponds to that of the objective of the study, to act in the earlier stages of the infection".
It has also reported that "from our hospital we have referred more than 30 donors to the Transfusion Center and the donor disposition is excellent". "Many of them were seriously ill and, fortunately, recovered and, in addition, many are health professionals or professionals of essential professions".
Donation procedure is safe
The hyperimmune plasma donation is voluntary, similar to a blood donation in use. The plasma is extracted, processed at the Transfusion Center of the Valencian Community, titrating the amount of effective antibodies, and stored until hospitals require it for a specific patient.
You can donate to anyone who has overcome the infection and developed antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and who meets the criteria for conventional blood donation. Health professionals are already doing it.
The candidates for this transfusion of antibodies have, for the most part, autoimmune or oncohematological diseases that cannot cope with the infection themselves.
With this clinical trial, whose main investigator is Marino Blanes, from Hospital La Fe, the Valencian Community joins the dozen of centers that are developing clinical research throughout the world in search of new treatments against COVID-19 infection: The Puerta de Hierro-Majadahonda University Hospital, in Spain, and, internationally, centers in China, Colombia, the Netherlands, France or the United States.