Recovered COVID-19 Male Patients with Severe Illness May Be Best Donors for Convalescent Plasma Therapy

A new study at the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that stronger antibody responses are associated with the more severe coronavirus disease along with more advanced age and male sex. Research findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Study indicates that the sex and age as well as the severity of disease may be integral in identifying the survivors of Covid-19, who are more likely to have high antibody levels that can protect against the disease. Research findings implicate that the older men recovered from the severe Covid-19 after being hospitalized have robust antibody responses. Therefore, it is suggested that these candidates are more suitable for donating plasma to treat Covid-19 patients.

To combat the growing coronavirus cases, doctors have been using infusions of plasma i-e that part of blood that contains the antibodies. This plasma is taken from recovered Covid-19 patients to treat the Covid-19 patients. Moreover, doctors are also using possible prophylaxis to prevent the Covid-19.

Since the viral outbreak, convalescent plasma (antibody therapy) is using as a leading treatment for Covid-19, but the data proving the therapeutic efficacy is lacking. Although 2 randomized trials that have been assessing Covid-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) in China and Europe were terminated early as they did not find clinically significant differences between the study.

However, in past outbreaks including, Ebola, Polio, Mumps, Measles, and 1918 pandemic flu, doctors have used convalescent plasma to treat patients or immunize persons at high risk of virus exposure during the respective outbreaks.

Source: The Journal of Clinical Investigation

The current study was a collaboration with a group of several other researchers, tested the blood samples of up to 126 Covid-19 confirmed cases who survived after hospitalization. Individuals selected had high variability in their antibody levels and their respective ability of antibodies to neutralize the effect of Covid-19 virus SARS-CoV-2.

Study used three factors and associated them with the stronger antibody responses, including having been sick enough with Covid-19 to be hospitalized, old age, and male gender. In the initial studies of recovered patients, they recruited those Covid-19 patients revealed a significant variability in their antibody responses to the virus.

However, some of the survivors had very weak responses that it is believed that they would almost certainly be ineffective in helping new Covid-19 patients. Therefore, in the new study, researchers elucidated the potential factors that can act as the risk factors. It may help in explaining some of the genetic variability and respectively guides the doctors and clinicians to find better treatment options.

The researchers performed blood tests to determine the ability of plasma in cell cultures to neutralize the coronavirus infections that jumps from one cell to another. They further did other commercial tests to determine the antibody levels that developed against the coronavirus’s spike protein — the protein that is believed crucial for virus to enter the human cell to cause infection.

It was found that the among all the individuals, there was a considerable variability in their antibody levels developed against the spike-protein as well as the plasma coronavirus-neutralization potency. Yet, it was asserted that on average, the plasma obtained from the Covid-19 survivors who had so severe infection that they had been hospitalized, had markedly more “anti-spike protein antibodies” and reported more potent and effective neutralization of the virus. It implicates that the severity of the disease prompts a stronger immune response.

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