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In this issue of JAMA, Shen et al report findings from a preliminary study of 5 severely ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who were treated in the Shenzhen Third People's Hospital, China, using plasma from recovered individuals.1 All patients had severe respiratory failure and were receiving mechanical ventilation; 1 needed extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and 2 had bacterial and/or fungal pneumonia. Four patients without coexisting diseases received convalescent plasma around hospital day 20, and a patient with hypertension and mitral valve insufficiency received the plasma transfusion at day 10. The donor plasma had demonstrable IgG and IgM anti–SARS-CoV-19 antibodies and neutralized the virus in in vitro cultures. Although these patients continued to receive antiviral treatment primarily with lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, the use of convalescent plasma may have contributed to their recovery because the clinical status of all patients had improvement approximately 1 week after transfusion, as evidenced by normalization of body temperature as well as improvements in Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores and Pao2/Fio2 ratio. In addition, the patients’ neutralizing antibody titers increased and respiratory samples tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 between 1 and 12 days after transfusion.
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Corresponding Author: Jeannette Guarner, MD, Emory Medical Laboratories, Emory University Hospital-Midtown Core Laboratory, Emory University School of Medicine, 1364 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30322 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: March 27, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.4940
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Roback reports being a member of the American Red Cross Biomedical Services Medical Advisory Council; a consultant to CSL Plasma; a consultant to Secure Transfusion Services; and a cofounder, stockholder, and consultant to Cambium Medical Technologies. Dr Guarner reports no disclosures.
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