Systematic Review Initiative, NHS Blood and Transplant, Oxford, UK. Jon J van Rood Center for Clinical Transfusion Research, Sanquin/Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands. Transfusion Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Cochrane Haematology, Department I of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany. Clinical, Research and Development, NHS Blood and Transplant, Oxford, UK. Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Unit Transfusion Medicine, Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Haematology/Transfusion Medicine, NHS Blood and Transplant, Oxford, UK.
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2023;1(1):Cd015167
BACKGROUND Hyperimmune immunoglobulin (hIVIG) contains polyclonal antibodies, which can be prepared from large amounts of pooled convalescent plasma or prepared from animal sources through immunisation. They are being investigated as a potential therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This review was previously part of a parent review addressing convalescent plasma and hIVIG for people with COVID-19 and was split to
address hIVIG and convalescent plasma separately. OBJECTIVES To assess the benefits and harms of hIVIG therapy for the treatment of people with COVID-19, and to maintain the currency of the evidence using a living systematic review approach. SEARCH METHODS To identify completed and ongoing studies, we searched the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Research Database, the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, the Epistemonikos COVID-19 L*OVE Platform and Medline and Embase from 1 January 2019 onwards. We carried out searches on 31 March 2022. SELECTION CRITERIA We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated hIVIG for COVID-19, irrespective of disease severity, age, gender or ethnicity. We excluded studies that included populations with other coronavirus diseases (severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)), as well as studies that evaluated standard immunoglobulin. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS We followed standard Cochrane methodology. To assess bias in included studies, we used RoB 2. We rated the certainty of evidence, using the GRADE approach, for the following outcomes: all-cause mortality, improvement and worsening of clinical status (for individuals with moderate to severe disease), quality of life, adverse events, and serious adverse events. MAIN RESULTS We included five RCTs with 947 participants, of whom 688 received hIVIG prepared from humans, 18 received heterologous swine glyco-humanised polyclonal antibody, and 241 received equine-derived processed and purified F(ab')(2) fragments. All participants were hospitalised with moderate-to-severe disease, most participants were not vaccinated (only 12 participants were vaccinated). The studies were conducted before or during the emergence of several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. There are no data for people with COVID-19 with no symptoms (asymptomatic) or people with mild COVID-19. We identified a further 10 ongoing studies evaluating hIVIG. Benefits of hIVIG prepared from humans We included data on one RCT (579 participants) that assessed the benefits and harms of hIVIG 0.4 g/kg compared to saline placebo. hIVIG may have little to no impact on all-cause mortality at 28 days (risk ratio (RR) 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.43 to 1.44; absolute effect 77 per 1000 with placebo versus 61 per 1000 (33 to 111) with hIVIG; low-certainty evidence). The evidence is very uncertain about the effect on worsening of clinical status at day 7 (RR 0.85, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.23; very low-certainty evidence). It probably has little to no impact on improvement of clinical status on day 28 (RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.08; moderate-certainty evidence). We did not identify any studies that reported quality-of-life outcomes, so we do not know if hIVIG has any impact on quality of life. Harms of hIVIG prepared from humans hIVIG may have little to no impact on adverse events at any grade on day 1 (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.18; 431 per 1000; 1 study 579 participants; low-certainty evidence). Patients receiving hIVIG probably experience more adverse events at grade 3-4 severity than patients who receive placebo (RR 4.09, 95% CI 1.39 to 12.01; moderate-certainty evidence). hIVIG may have little to no impact on the composite outcome of serious adverse events or death up to day 28 (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.14; moderate-certainty evidence). We also identified additional results on the benefits and harms of other dose ranges of hIVIG, not included in the summary of findings table, but summarised in additional tables. Benefits of animal-derived polyclonal antibodies We included data on one RCT (241 participants) to assess the benefits and harms of receptor-binding domain-specific polyclonal F(ab´)(2) fragments of equine antibodies (EpAbs) compared to saline placebo. EpAbs may reduce all-cause mortality at 28 days (RR 0.60, 95% CI 0.26 to 1.37; absolute effect 114 per 1000 with placebo versus 68 per 1000 (30 to 156) ; low-certainty evidence). EpAbs may reduce worsening of clinical status up to day 28 (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.38 to 1.18; absolute effect 203 per 1000 with placebo versus 136 per 1000 (77 to 240); low-certainty evidence). It may have some effect on improvement of clinical status on day 28 (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.17; low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any studies that reported quality-of-life outcomes, so we do not know if EpAbs have any impact on quality of life. Harms of animal-derived polyclonal antibodies EpAbs may have little to no impact on the number of adverse events at any grade up to 28 days (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.31; low-certainty evidence). Adverse events at grade 3-4 severity were not reported. Individuals receiving EpAbs may experience fewer serious adverse events than patients receiving placebo (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.38 to 1.19; low-certainty evidence). We also identified additional results on the benefits and harms of other animal-derived polyclonal antibody doses, not included in the summary of findings table, but summarised in additional tables. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS We included data from five RCTs that evaluated hIVIG compared to standard therapy, with participants with moderate-to-severe disease. As the studies evaluated different preparations (from humans or from various animals) and doses, we could not pool them. hIVIG prepared from humans may have little to no impact on mortality, and clinical improvement and worsening. hIVIG may increase grade 3-4 adverse events. Studies did not evaluate quality of life. RBD-specific polyclonal F(ab´)(2) fragments of equine antibodies may reduce mortality and serious adverse events, and may reduce clinical worsening. However, the studies were conducted before or during the emergence of several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and prior to widespread vaccine rollout. As no studies evaluated hIVIG for participants with asymptomatic infection or mild disease, benefits for these individuals remains uncertain. This is a living systematic review. We search monthly for new evidence and update the review when we identify relevant new evidence.