Coronavirus plasma treatment still experimental, cautions WHO

The World Health Organization has cautioned that using blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to treat other patients is still considered an experimental therapy. The United Nations agency today that preliminary study results are inconclusive and more rigorous research is underway.

Yesterday, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized what’s called emergency use of the treatment under its special powers to speed the availability of promising experimental drugs.

WHO’s Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan during a press briefing said that so far, the results are not conclusive. At the moment, it is still very low-quality evidence.

Convalescent plasma is a century-old treatment that was used to fight off flu and measles outbreaks in the days before vaccines, and was tried more recently during the Ebola outbreak.

Dr Swaminathan said, WHO considered plasma therapy to be experimental and that it should continue to be evaluated. She said the treatment is difficult to standardize: Plasma must be collected individually and people produce different levels of antibodies.