Greater than fifty million Americans now have received the experimental treatment for the pandemic that is known as convalescent plasma. But after a year of the Covid-19, it still remains unclear who will be benefiting from this treatment.
The Plasma Therapy Turns Out To Be Bust
This remains quite uncertain as the various challenges that have been faced by scientists in the attempts to evaluate the COVID-19 medicine.
On the paper, the treatment with this convalescent plasma does make a good sense. Main idea was to obtain the blood plasma from the people those who have already recovered from the COVID-19 virus and put it into the patient’s plasma who has tested positive for Covid-18. The antibodies which were donated in the plasma would be helping to fight this virus in theory.
Based on this theory, in the last of March, at the Icahn School of Medicine that is situated in the premises of Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Nicole Bouvier has decided to give this a try in New York.
She has recalled her thinking and stated that this new disease for which the medical science did not have a cure. The convalescent plasma that has been used in various new pandemic and epidemic diseases as early as in the Ebola outbreak in the West Africa some years ago.
She has said that she was one of the first doctors that got a special permission for plasma therapy from the FDA or Food and Drug Administration in using this therapy for the experimental treatment.
This was a big commitment in lining up with the people who are willing to donate their plasma and arrange the treatment of the patients by themselves. She said that this proved to be a big task and a big production. They had to screen over seventy thousand people ultimately and had to identify about twenty thousand that had a high antibody count in their plasma of the blood.
Mount Sinai has treated greater than 1,400 patients infected with Covid-19, which includes throughout this night of New York city’s nightmarish pandemic outbreak in the last spring. But with all said and done Bouvier really had zero idea if the plasma therapy was really going to work.
Recently a few weeks ago, she seemed to gather necessary data through the carefully controlled studies and later decided to stop offering this treatment.
The RECOVERY Trial carried out in the UK was studying about 10,000 volunteers and found that they were not benefited at all. CONCOR-1, which was run by Canadians, were studying almost 1,000 patients. It, too, stopped its plan of recruiting new patients as it observed that doing is of no use.
But all those studies that focused on people who were sick enough to be admitted in the hospital. Dr. Arturo Casadevall at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is the person who advocates convalescent plasma. He says according to him the sooner the treatment is done in the outpatient setting the better it would be.
He adds further that at Hopkins they started doing outpatient trials from the initial stages. Preparation for trials were done in March 2020 but they could complete it much later because of lack of funds. As they could not get taxpayer money because of non collection of taxes, the study ultimately was carried out with funding from one of the billionaires Michael Bloomberg.
But a year later, there are no results of that study at Hopkins. The question is not just of funding but the fact that the entire medical research system of the U.S. has not been set up to do what is most urgently needed to identify new ways of treatments during this pandemic.