Psaltopoulou T, et al. Hemasphere 2020 - Review.
Various agents are currently under evaluation as potential treatments in the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Plasma from patients that have overcome COVID-19 infection, referred to as convalescent plasma, is a treatment option with considerable background in viral diseases such as Spanish influenza, H1N1, Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Although convalescent plasma has historically proven beneficial in the treatment of some viral diseases, its use is still explorative in the context of COVID-19. To date, preliminary evidence from case series is favorable as significant clinical, biochemical improvement and hospital discharge have been reported. A detailed overview of randomized as well non-randomized trials of treatment with convalescent plasma, which have been registered worldwide, is provided in this review. Based on these studies, data from thousands of patients is anticipated in the near future. Convalescent plasma seems to be a safe option, but potential risks such as transfusion-related acute lung injury and antibody-dependent enhancement are discussed. Authorities including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and scientific associations such as the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) and the European Blood Alliance (EBA), have provided guidance into the selection criteria for donors and recipients. A debatable, pivotal issue pertains to the optimal timing of convalescent plasma transfusion. This treatment should be administered as early as possible to maximize efficacy, but at the same time be reserved for severe cases. Emerging risk stratification algorithms integrating clinical and biochemical markers to trace the cases at risk of significant deterioration can prove valuable in this direction.