Coronavirus: Antibodies from recovered blood plasma for the treatment of COVID-19

Coronavirus: Antibodies from recovered blood plasma for the treatment of COVID-19

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Antibodies from the blood of recovered corona in the fight against COVID-19

Despite intensive research, there is still no effective therapy for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Blood plasma is therefore used by people who have already survived SARS-CoV-2 infection. This plasma contains antibodies against the pathogen. This can help seriously ill people.

There is currently no therapy against COVID-19. Scientists are reviewing existing drugs for their effectiveness and researching vaccines. Another option is therapy with antibodies obtained from the blood plasma of recovered people. Anyone who has survived a coronavirus infection and has enough antibodies against the pathogen in the blood can help the seriously ill with a blood and plasma donation.

Plasma manufacturing has started

As the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn writes in a current communication, antibodies from the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients could help to save lives.

The University Clinic Bonn, together with several other facilities in Germany, recently received official approval to produce and use convalescent plasma for the treatment of seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

Thanks to a large number of donors and after extensive preparation in a short time, plasma production could now begin on the Venusberg campus.

Currently no approved medication

“There are no approved drugs to treat Covid-19 patients with severe history. We are almost empty-handed, ”explains Prof. Christian Putensen, Head of Operative Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital Bonn, the motivation to initiate the production of convalescent plasma together with the blood donation service.

Recovered COVID-19 patients have developed antibodies against the novel coronavirus, which can concentrate the immune system of seriously ill patients on COVID-19 pathogens in a highly concentrated manner.

According to the experts, the very specific proteins ensure that the body recognizes and combats the intruder. As explained in the communication, first case studies indicate that the administration of antibodies to those who have recovered from COVID-19 can be effective if the course is severe.

The principle of passive immunization is not new, but was developed as a cure for diphtheria by Emil von Behring in 1890 and has been used since then, for example with the Spanish flu and Ebola.

Positive response to call for blood plasma donation

"We would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming response to our call to recovered Covid 19 patients via Facebook," said Prof. Dr. Johannes Oldenburg, Director of the Institute for Experimental Hematology and Transfusion Medicine at the University Hospital Bonn.

According to the information, within a short time over 350 people have registered with the blood donation service of the University Hospital Bonn, who are ready to help people with their plasma seriously ill. All are checked to see whether they are suitable as donors.

"In addition to the general criteria, a positive test for the corona virus during the illness and a current negative smear must be available from our company doctor," explains Dr. Heiko Rühl, senior physician at the Bonn University Institute for Experimental Hematology and Transfusion Medicine.

The blood plasma donation lasts about three-quarters of an hour and works like in the production of coagulation-active plasma preparations. The specific antibodies contained in the blood plasma against the COVID-19 pathogen are obtained from the blood together with the plasma using a plasmapheresis device.

“There are currently enough recovered Covid 19 patients available. The plasma will be obtained at least until equivalent therapy alternatives are available and we are therefore looking forward to further donors in the coming months, ”says Professor Oldenburg.

Possible side effects are manageable

With the project, which started similarly at other university hospitals in Germany, the physicians at the University Hospital Bonn want to help achieve a significant improvement in severe cases of COVID-19 disease.

"The expected benefits seem to outweigh the risks because the possible side effects are manageable and easy to handle," explains Prof. Putensen.

The Bonn doctors do not only want to give the safely produced plasma products therapeutically to intensive care patients, but also to closely examine the effects clinically and immunologically. So there is still the question of the right time for passive immunization in the room.

"Together with the Institute for Innate Immunity, we also want to look at the individual immune response and clarify the question of why some patients have a difficult course and others do not," explains Dr. Folkert Steinhagen, Senior Consultant in Operative Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital Bonn.

Donors have had no symptoms for four weeks

According to the notification, there are currently sufficient recovered COVID-19 patients available. Because the plasma will be obtained over several months, the blood donation service will be happy to receive more donors in the coming months.

The prerequisite is that donors have had no symptoms of COVID-19 disease for four weeks and the coronavirus can no longer be detected in a nasopharyngeal smear.

More information about blood donation can be found here. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Video: Plasma donation and how its helping COVID-19 patients (August 2022).