Can Convalescent Plasma Assist Kids with COVID-19?

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Can Convalescent Plasma Help Children with COVID-19?

To date, no therapies have been shown to be safe and effective for children who develop life-threatening complications from COVID-19. That could change.

Researchers at Philadelphia Children's Hospital (CHOP) released results last week suggesting that convalescent plasma could be used to treat pediatric patients with severe cases of the coronavirus.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 can give their plasma by donating blood. This is called convalescent plasma. It is then given to patients who currently have the virus to trigger an antibody response in the body – which should fight off the infection. Treatment is effective in some adults, but its effects have not been studied in children.

The study was quite small and included only 4 children ages 14 to 18 who developed acute respiratory distress syndrome after testing positive for COVID-19. The researchers measured the donor antibody levels and the response of the recipient antibodies before and after the convalescent plasma was administered to the children. This helped them determine if there were any bad effects on the patients.

Three of the patients had initially low antibody levels. After the plasma transfusion, everyone had spikes in some antibodies to the coronavirus. One patient of the 3 patients has been discharged while the other 2 patients have improved but are still in the hospital.

Unfortunately, 1 patient died of cardiac complications 25 days after the plasma infusion.

"Although the small sample size of our study does not allow definitive conclusions, we believe this method is safe," said Dr. David T. Teachey in a press release issued by the hospital. Dr. Teachey is the study's lead author and an attending physician at CHOP. "Future research should include randomized controlled trials to further investigate how effective convalescent plasma can be in treating children infected with COVID-19."

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