Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of recombinant erythropoietin on the improvement of hospitalised COVID-19 patients: A structured summary of a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial
OBJECTIVES To evaluate the effect of recombinant erythropoietin on hospitalised COVID-19 patients. TRIAL DESIGN Concealed, randomized, single-blinded, phase 2 controlled clinical trial with two arm parallel-group design of 20 patients allocated with 1:1 ratio and using the placebo in the control group. PARTICIPANTS This study will be performed at Shahid Mohammadi Hospital in Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan in Iran. All positive (PCR confirmed) COVID-19 patients ≤65 years old who have Hb≤9 and at least one of the severe COVID-19 symptoms (tachypnea (breathing rate> 30 beats per minute), hypoxemia (O2 ≤93 saturation, the partial pressure ratio of arterial oxygen <300), Lung infiltration (> 50% of lung field within 24 to 48 hours), progressive lymphopenia, LDH>245 U/I, CRP>100) and are willing to cooperate in this project will be included in the study. Patients with a history of coronary heart disease, thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis, chronic lung disease, diabetes mellitus, weakened immune system, end-stage renal disease, liver disease, and patients with a history of taking oral contraceptive pills, systolic blood pressure more than 160 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure more than 90 mm Hg and age over 65 and erythropoietin above 500 are excluded. INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR Patients will receive the standard of care (SOC) based on the treatment protocols of the Iranian National Committee of COVID-19 and recombinant erythropoietin (EPREX Manufactured by Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Company) 300 units / Kg or 4000IU as subcutaneous (SQ) injection three times a day for 5 days and simultaneously Enoxaparin 1 mg/kg SQ daily is also taken to prevent thrombosis in the intervention group. Patients' blood pressure, along with other vital signs, are checked regularly and at regular intervals. In the control group, patients received SOC and the placebo (distilled water) is given as a subcutaneous injection three times a day for 5 days. We use sterile water for injection (EXIRpharmaceutical company) as the placebo. To the same appearance of the placebo and the recombinant erythropoietin, they are taken in a separate room in the same size syringes and cover with labels before injection. MAIN OUTCOMES The main outcome for this study is a composite endpoint for Patient clinical symptoms (Respiratory rate, Oxygen saturation state and arterial oxygen partial pressure ratio, Lung infiltration status, blood pressure), Laboratory tests (LDH, CRP, Lymphocyte count, Endogenous erythropoietin, and Haemoglobin level). All of these will be assessed at the beginning of the study (before the intervention) and day 5 after the intervention. The study will also evaluate side effects and how to manage them. RANDOMISATION Eligible participants (20) will be randomized in two arms in the ratio of 1: 1 (10 per arm) by permuted block randomization method using online web-based tools. BLINDING (MASKING): Patients participating in the study will not be aware of the assignment to the intervention or control group. The principal investigator, health care personnel, data collectors, and those evaluating the outcome are aware of patient grouping. NUMBERS TO BE RANDOMISED (SAMPLE SIZE): A total of 20 patients will participate in this study, who are randomly allocated to the 2 arms with a 1:1 ratio; 10 patients in the intervention group will receive SOC and recombinant erythropoietin, and 10 patients in the control group will receive SOC and placebo. TRIAL STATUS The protocol version is 3.0, approved by the Deputy of Research and Technology and the ethics committee of Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences on 6(th) June 2020, with the local grant number of 990108. The expected recruitment end date was on 21(th) December 2020 but since we had a wide and careful exclusion criteria because of the adverse reactions of the medication, the recruitment (for both cases and controls) was not so easy and did not finish on the expected date and we are still recruiting now. Recruitment began on 17(th) August 2020 and the updated expected recruitment end date is 1(st) August 2021. TRIAL REGISTRATION The protocol was registered before starting subject recruitment under the title: Evaluation of the effect of recombinant erythropoietin on the improvement of COVID-19 patients, IRCT20200509047364N1, at Iranian Registry of clinical trials ( https://en.irct.ir/trial/49282 ) on 2020/08/09. FULL PROTOCOL The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol. The study protocol has been reported in accordance with the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Clinical Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) guidelines (Additional file 2).
A randomized clinical trial evaluating the immunomodulatory effect of convalescent plasma on COVID-19-related cytokine storm
Internal and emergency medicine. 2021;:1-11
Evaluating the effect of convalescent plasma (CP) on some cytokine storm indices in severe COVID-19 patients. Totally, 62 patients were randomly assigned into two groups for this clinical trial. Patients in the intervention group received one unit (500 mL) plasma on the admission day plus standard drugs while the controls merely received standard treatments. Eventually, primary and secondary outcomes were evaluated. In the CP group, compared with controls, the mean levels of lymphocytes and IL-10 significantly increased while the levels of IL-6, TNF-α, and IFN-γ decreased (p < 0.05). The length of in-hospital stay, and mortality rate did not significantly reduce in the CP group compared with controls (p > 0.05) while WHO severity scores remarkably improved (p = 0.01), despite the higher frequency of underlying diseases among the CP group (66.7%) vs. controls (33.3%). Although CP has a remarkable immunomodulatory and antiviral potential to improve the cytokine storm and disease severity in COVID-19 patients, it did not considerably affect the mortality rate.
Effects of potent neutralizing antibodies from convalescent plasma in patients hospitalized for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection
Nature Communications. 2021;12(1):3189
In a randomized clinical trial of 86 hospitalized COVID-19 patients comparing standard care to treatment with 300mL convalescent plasma containing high titers of neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, no overall clinical benefit was observed. Using a comprehensive translational approach, we unravel the virological and immunological responses following treatment to disentangle which COVID-19 patients may benefit and should be the focus of future studies. Convalescent plasma is safe, does not improve survival, has no effect on the disease course, nor does plasma enhance viral clearance in the respiratory tract, influence SARS-CoV-2 antibody development or serum proinflammatory cytokines levels. Here, we show that the vast majority of patients already had potent neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at hospital admission and with comparable titers to carefully selected plasma donors. This resulted in the decision to terminate the trial prematurely. Treatment with convalescent plasma should be studied early in the disease course or at least preceding autologous humoral response development.
Convalescent plasma in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (RECOVERY): a randomised controlled, open-label, platform trial
Lancet (London, England). 2021
BACKGROUND Many patients with COVID-19 have been treated with plasma containing anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. We aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma therapy in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. METHODS This randomised, controlled, open-label, platform trial (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy [RECOVERY]) is assessing several possible treatments in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in the UK. The trial is underway at 177 NHS hospitals from across the UK. Eligible and consenting patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either usual care alone (usual care group) or usual care plus high-titre convalescent plasma (convalescent plasma group). The primary outcome was 28-day mortality, analysed on an intention-to-treat basis. The trial is registered with ISRCTN, 50189673, and ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04381936. FINDINGS Between May 28, 2020, and Jan 15, 2021, 11558 (71%) of 16287 patients enrolled in RECOVERY were eligible to receive convalescent plasma and were assigned to either the convalescent plasma group or the usual care group. There was no significant difference in 28-day mortality between the two groups: 1399 (24%) of 5795 patients in the convalescent plasma group and 1408 (24%) of 5763 patients in the usual care group died within 28 days (rate ratio 1·00, 95% CI 0·93-1·07; p=0·95). The 28-day mortality rate ratio was similar in all prespecified subgroups of patients, including in those patients without detectable SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at randomisation. Allocation to convalescent plasma had no significant effect on the proportion of patients discharged from hospital within 28 days (3832 [66%] patients in the convalescent plasma group vs 3822 [66%] patients in the usual care group; rate ratio 0·99, 95% CI 0·94-1·03; p=0·57). Among those not on invasive mechanical ventilation at randomisation, there was no significant difference in the proportion of patients meeting the composite endpoint of progression to invasive mechanical ventilation or death (1568 [29%] of 5493 patients in the convalescent plasma group vs 1568 [29%] of 5448 patients in the usual care group; rate ratio 0·99, 95% CI 0·93-1·05; p=0·79). INTERPRETATION In patients hospitalised with COVID-19, high-titre convalescent plasma did not improve survival or other prespecified clinical outcomes. FUNDING UK Research and Innovation (Medical Research Council) and National Institute of Health Research.
Patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and enrolled in the RECOVERY trial (n=11,558).
Convalescent plasma (n= 5,795).
Usual care (n= 5,763).
There was no significant difference in 28-day mortality between the two groups: 1,399 (24%) of patients in the convalescent plasma group and 1,408 (24%) of patients in the usual care group died within 28 days. Allocation to convalescent plasma had no significant effect on the proportion of patients discharged from hospital within 28 days 3,832 (66%) patients in the convalescent plasma group vs. 3,822 (66%) patients in the usual care group. Among those not on invasive mechanical ventilation at randomisation, there was no significant difference in the proportion of patients meeting the composite endpoint of progression to invasive mechanical ventilation or death 1,568 (29%) of 5,493 patients in the convalescent plasma group vs. 1,568 (29%) of 5,448 patients in the usual care group.
A randomized double-blind controlled trial of convalescent plasma in adults with severe COVID-19
The Journal of clinical investigation. 2021
BACKGROUND Although convalescent plasma has been widely used to treat severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), data from randomized controlled trials that support its efficacy are limited. METHODS We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial among adults hospitalized with severe and critical COVID-19 at five sites in New York City (USA) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Patients were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive a single transfusion of either convalescent plasma or placebo (normal control plasma). The primary outcome was clinical status at 28 days following randomization, measured using an ordinal scale and analyzed using a proportional odds model in the intention-to-treat population. RESULTS Of 223 participants enrolled, 150 were randomized to receive convalescent plasma and 73 to normal control plasma. At 28 days, no significant improvement in clinical status was observed in participants randomized to convalescent plasma (OR 1.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83-2.68, p=0.180). However, 28-day mortality was significantly lower in participants randomized to convalescent plasma versus control plasma (19/150 [12.6%] versus 18/73 [24.6%], OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.22-0.91, p=0.034). The median titer of anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody in infused convalescent plasma units was 1:160 (IQR 1:80-1:320). In a subset of nasopharyngeal swab samples from Brazil that underwent genomic sequencing, no evidence of neutralization-escape mutants was detected. CONCLUSIONS In adults hospitalized with severe COVID-19, use of convalescent plasma was not associated with significant improvement in clinical status at day 28. However, a significant improvement in mortality was observed, which warrants further evaluation. TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04359810FUNDING. Amazon Foundation. Skoll Foundation.
Randomized controlled trial of convalescent plasma therapy against standard therapy in patients with severe COVID-19 disease
Scientific reports. 2021;11(1):9927
Convalescent plasma (CP) therapy in COVID-19 disease may improve clinical outcome in severe disease. This pilot study was undertaken to inform feasibility and safety of further definitive studies. This was a prospective, interventional and randomized open label pilot trial in patients with severe COVID-19. Twenty COVID-19 patients received two 200 ml transfusions of convalescent patient CP over 24-h compared with 20 who received standard of care. The primary outcome was the requirement for ventilation (non-invasive or mechanical ventilation). The secondary outcomes were biochemical parameters and mortality at 28 days. The CP group were a higher risk group with higher ferritin levels (p < 0.05) though respiratory indices did not differ. The primary outcome measure was required in 6 controls and 4 patients on CP (risk ratio 0.67, 95% CI 0.22-2.0, p = 0.72); mean time on ventilation (NIV or MV) did not differ. There were no differences in secondary measures at the end of the study. Two patients died in the control and one patient in the CP arm. There were no significant differences in the primary or secondary outcome measures between CP and standard therapy, although a larger definitive study is needed for confirmation. However, the study did show that CP therapy appears to be safe in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with hypoxia.Clinical trials registration NCT04356534: 22/04/2020.
Passive Immunity Trial for Our Nation (PassITON): study protocol for a randomized placebo-control clinical trial evaluating COVID-19 convalescent plasma in hospitalized adults
BACKGROUND Convalescent plasma is being used widely as a treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the clinical efficacy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma is unclear. METHODS The Passive Immunity Trial for Our Nation (PassITON) is a multicenter, placebo-controlled, blinded, randomized clinical trial being conducted in the USA to provide high-quality evidence on the efficacy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as a treatment for adults hospitalized with symptomatic disease. Adults hospitalized with COVID-19 with respiratory symptoms for less than 14 days are eligible. Enrolled patients are randomized in a 1:1 ratio to 1 unit (200-399 mL) of COVID-19 convalescent plasma that has demonstrated neutralizing function using a SARS-CoV-2 chimeric virus neutralization assay. Study treatments are administered in a blinded fashion and patients are followed for 28 days. The primary outcome is clinical status 14 days after study treatment as measured on a 7-category ordinal scale assessing mortality, respiratory support, and return to normal activities of daily living. Key secondary outcomes include mortality and oxygen-free days. The trial is projected to enroll 1000 patients and is designed to detect an odds ratio ≤ 0.73 for the primary outcome. DISCUSSION This trial will provide the most robust data available to date on the efficacy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma for the treatment of adults hospitalized with acute moderate to severe COVID-19. These data will be useful to guide the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the current pandemic and for informing decisions about whether developing a standardized infrastructure for collecting and disseminating convalescent plasma to prepare for future viral pandemics is indicated. TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04362176 . Registered on 24 April 2020.
Convalescent plasma for COVID-19 in hospitalised patients: an open-label, randomised clinical trial
The European Respiratory Journal. 2021
BACKGROUND The effects of convalescent plasma (CP) therapy hospitalised patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remain uncertain. This study investigates the effect CP on clinical improvement in these patients. METHODS This is an investigator-initiated, randomised, parallel arm, open-label, superiority clinical trial. Patients were randomly (1:1) assigned to two infusions of CP plus standard of care (SOC) or SOC alone. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with clinical improvement 28 days after enrolment. RESULTS A total of 160 (80 in each arm) patients (66.3% were critically ill and 33.7%, severe) completed the trial. The median age was 60.5 years (interquartile range [IQR], 48-68), 58.1% were men and the median time from symptom onset to randomisation was 10 days (IQR, 8-12). Neutralising antibodies titres >1:80 were present in 133 (83.1%) patients at baseline. The proportion of patients with clinical improvement on day 28 was 61.3% in the CP+SOC and 65.0% in the SOC group (difference, -3.7%; 95% Confidence Interval [CI], -18.8%-11.3%). The results were similar in the subgroups of severe and critically ill. There was no significant difference between CP+SOC and SOC groups in prespecified secondary outcomes, including 28-day mortality, days alive and free of respiratory support and duration of invasive ventilatory support. Inflammatory and other laboratorial markers values on days 3, 7 and 14 were similar between groups. CONCLUSIONS CP+SOC did not result in a higher proportion of clinical improvement on at day 28 in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 compared to SOC alone.
Early versus deferred anti-SARS-CoV-2 convalescent plasma in patients admitted for COVID-19: A randomized phase II clinical trial
Plos Medicine. 2021;18(3):e1003415
BACKGROUND Convalescent plasma (CP), despite limited evidence on its efficacy, is being widely used as a compassionate therapy for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of early CP therapy in COVID-19 progression. METHODS AND FINDINGS The study was an open-label, single-center randomized clinical trial performed in an academic medical center in Santiago, Chile, from May 10, 2020, to July 18, 2020, with final follow-up until August 17, 2020. The trial included patients hospitalized within the first 7 days of COVID-19 symptom onset, presenting risk factors for illness progression and not on mechanical ventilation. The intervention consisted of immediate CP (early plasma group) versus no CP unless developing prespecified criteria of deterioration (deferred plasma group). Additional standard treatment was allowed in both arms. The primary outcome was a composite of mechanical ventilation, hospitalization for >14 days, or death. The key secondary outcomes included time to respiratory failure, days of mechanical ventilation, hospital length of stay, mortality at 30 days, and SARS-CoV-2 real-time PCR clearance rate. Of 58 randomized patients (mean age, 65.8 years; 50% male), 57 (98.3%) completed the trial. A total of 13 (43.3%) participants from the deferred group received plasma based on clinical aggravation. We failed to find benefit in the primary outcome (32.1% versus 33.3%, odds ratio [OR] 0.95, 95% CI 0.32-2.84, p > 0.999) in the early versus deferred CP group. The in-hospital mortality rate was 17.9% versus 6.7% (OR 3.04, 95% CI 0.54-17.17 p = 0.246), mechanical ventilation 17.9% versus 6.7% (OR 3.04, 95% CI 0.54-17.17, p = 0.246), and prolonged hospitalization 21.4% versus 30.0% (OR 0.64, 95% CI, 0.19-2.10, p = 0.554) in the early versus deferred CP group, respectively. The viral clearance rate on day 3 (26% versus 8%, p = 0.204) and day 7 (38% versus 19%, p = 0.374) did not differ between groups. Two patients experienced serious adverse events within 6 hours after plasma transfusion. The main limitation of this study is the lack of statistical power to detect a smaller but clinically relevant therapeutic effect of CP, as well as not having confirmed neutralizing antibodies in donor before plasma infusion. CONCLUSIONS In the present study, we failed to find evidence of benefit in mortality, length of hospitalization, or mechanical ventilation requirement by immediate addition of CP therapy in the early stages of COVID-19 compared to its use only in case of patient deterioration. TRIAL REGISTRATION NCT04375098.
Neutralizing Activity to SARS-CoV-2 of Convalescent and Control Plasma Used in a Randomized Controlled Trial
BACKGROUND There are limited data on the neutralizing activity of convalescent plasma (CP) administered in randomized controlled trials (RCT) of COVID-19 infection. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS As part of an RCT, CP was collected per FDA guidelines from individuals recovered from COVID-19 infection. CP donors had to have ≥145 optical density (OD) units (ideal target ≥300) using a semi quantitative, immunochromatographic test for IgG antibody to the nucleocapsid protein (NP) of SARS-CoV-2 (typical range 0-500 OD units). A random subset of samples [14 control plasma, 12 CP "medium-anti-NP" (145-299 OD units), and 13 CP "high" anti-NP (≥300 OD units)] were tested for neutralizing antibodies using an established viral luciferase antibody inhibition assay to detect the infection of SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus that encoded spike protein (SARS2-S(trunc) ) on a human immunodeficiency virus 1 vector (NL43dEnvNanoLuc), using ACE2-expressing 293T cells. The titer needed to neutralize 50% of viral activity (NT50) was calculated. RESULTS The uptake of SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus by 293T(ACE2) cells was inhibited by pretreatment with CP compared to control CP (p<0.001) with control plasma having a median (IQR) 50% neutralization titer (NT50) of 1:28 (1:16,1:36) compared to 1:334 (1:130,1:1295) and 1:324 (1:244,1:578), for medium anti-NP and high anti-NP CP units, respectively. The neutralizing activity of CP met minimum FDA criteria with neutralizing antibody titers >1:80 in 100% of randomly selected samples, using a conservative approach that excluded non-specific binding. DISCUSSION Plasma from donors screened using an immunochromatographic test for IgG antibody to SARS-CoV-2 NP exhibited neutralizing activity meeting FDA's minimum standard in all randomly selected COVID-19 CP units. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.