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Editor's Choice
  • Iannizzi C
  • Chai KL
  • Piechotta V
  • Valk SJ
  • Kimber C
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2023 May 10;5(5):CD013600 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013600.pub6.
POPULATION:

People of any age with COVID-19 (33 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) n= 24,861).

INTERVENTION:

Convalescent plasma (n= 11,432).

COMPARISON:

Standard plasma, human immunoglobulin, placebo or standard care alone.

OUTCOME:

This living systematic review fourth review update version included 33 RCTs, of these 9 were single‐centre studies and 24 were multi‐centre studies. The authors identified 49 ongoing studies. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID‐19 and moderate to severe disease: 23 RCTs compared convalescent plasma to placebo or standard care alone; 5 RCTs compared convalescent plasma to standard plasma, and 1 RCT compared convalescent plasma to human immunoglobulin. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection and mild disease: 2 RCTs compared convalescent plasma to placebo or standard care alone, and 2 RCTs compared convalescent plasma to standard plasma. When comparing convalescent plasma vs. placebo or standard care alone, authors’ certainty in the evidence that convalescent plasma for individuals with moderate to severe disease does not reduce mortality and has little to no impact on clinical improvement or worsening is high. For individuals with mild disease, the authors have very-low to low certainty evidence for most primary outcomes and moderate certainty for hospital admission or death.

BACKGROUND:

Convalescent plasma may reduce mortality in patients with viral respiratory diseases, and is being investigated as a potential therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A thorough understanding of the current body of evidence regarding benefits and risks of this intervention is required.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effectiveness and safety of convalescent plasma transfusion in 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 Global literature on coronavirus disease Research Database, MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, and the Epistemonikos COVID-19 L*OVE Platform. We searched monthly until 03 March 2022.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating convalescent plasma 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 evaluating standard immunoglobulin.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We followed standard Cochrane methodology. To assess bias in included studies we used RoB 2. We used the GRADE approach to rate the certainty of evidence for the following outcomes: all-cause mortality at up to day 28, worsening and improvement of clinical status (for individuals with moderate to severe disease), hospital admission or death, COVID-19 symptoms resolution (for individuals with mild disease), quality of life, grade 3 or 4 adverse events, and serious adverse events.

MAIN RESULTS:

In this fourth review update version, we included 33 RCTs with 24,861 participants, of whom 11,432 received convalescent plasma. Of these, nine studies are single-centre studies and 24 are multi-centre studies. Fourteen studies took place in America, eight in Europe, three in South-East Asia, two in Africa, two in western Pacific and three in eastern Mediterranean regions and one in multiple regions. We identified a further 49 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma, and 33 studies reporting as being completed. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and moderate to severe disease 29 RCTs investigated the use of convalescent plasma for 22,728 participants with moderate to severe disease. 23 RCTs with 22,020 participants compared convalescent plasma to placebo or standard care alone, five compared to standard plasma and one compared to human immunoglobulin. We evaluate subgroups on detection of antibodies detection, symptom onset, country income groups and several co-morbidities in the full text. Convalescent plasma versus placebo or standard care alone Convalescent plasma does not reduce all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (risk ratio (RR) 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92 to 1.03; 220 per 1000; 21 RCTs, 19,021 participants; high-certainty evidence). It has little to no impact on need for invasive mechanical ventilation, or death (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.11; 296 per 1000; 6 RCTs, 14,477 participants; high-certainty evidence) and has no impact on whether participants are discharged from hospital (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.02; 665 per 1000; 6 RCTs, 12,721 participants; high-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may have little to no impact on quality of life (MD 1.00, 95% CI -2.14 to 4.14; 1 RCT, 483 participants; low-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may have little to no impact on the risk of grades 3 and 4 adverse events (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.42; 212 per 1000; 6 RCTs, 2392 participants; low-certainty evidence). It has probably little to no effect on the risk of serious adverse events (RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.44; 135 per 1000; 6 RCTs, 3901 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma versus standard plasma We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma reduces or increases all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.19; 129 per 1000; 4 RCTs, 484 participants; very low-certainty evidence). We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma reduces or increases the need for invasive mechanical ventilation, or death (RR 5.59, 95% CI 0.29 to 108.38; 311 per 1000; 1 study, 34 participants; very low-certainty evidence) and whether it reduces or increases the risk of serious adverse events (RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.15; 236 per 1000; 3 RCTs, 327 participants; very low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any study reporting other key outcomes. Convalescent plasma versus human immunoglobulin Convalescent plasma may have little to no effect on all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.50; 464 per 1000; 1 study, 190 participants; low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any study reporting other key outcomes. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mild disease We identified two RCTs reporting on 536 participants, comparing convalescent plasma to placebo or standard care alone, and two RCTs reporting on 1597 participants with mild disease, comparing convalescent plasma to standard plasma. Convalescent plasma versus placebo or standard care alone We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma reduces all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (odds ratio (OR) 0.36, 95% CI 0.09 to 1.46; 8 per 1000; 2 RCTs, 536 participants; very low-certainty evidence). It may have little to no effect on admission to hospital or death within 28 days (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.84; 117 per 1000; 1 RCT, 376 participants; low-certainty evidence), on time to COVID-19 symptom resolution (hazard ratio (HR) 1.05, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.30; 483 per 1000; 1 RCT, 376 participants; low-certainty evidence), on the risk of grades 3 and 4 adverse events (RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.75 to 2.19; 144 per 1000; 1 RCT, 376 participants; low-certainty evidence) and the risk of serious adverse events (RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.94; 133 per 1000; 1 RCT, 376 participants; low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any study reporting other key outcomes. Convalescent plasma versus standard plasma We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma reduces all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.05 to 1.75; 2 per 1000; 2 RCTs, 1597 participants; very low-certainty evidence). It probably reduces admission to hospital or death within 28 days (RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.75; 36 per 1000; 2 RCTs, 1595 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may have little to no effect on initial symptom resolution at up to day 28 (RR 1.12, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.27; 1 RCT, 416 participants; low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any study reporting other key outcomes. This is a living systematic review. We search monthly for new evidence and update the review when we identify relevant new evidence.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

For the comparison of convalescent plasma versus placebo or standard care alone, our certainty in the evidence that convalescent plasma for individuals with moderate to severe disease does not reduce mortality and has little to no impact on clinical improvement or worsening is high. It probably has little to no effect on SAEs. For individuals with mild disease, we have very-low to low certainty evidence for most primary outcomes and moderate certainty for hospital admission or death. There are 49 ongoing studies, and 33 studies reported as complete in a trials registry. Publication of ongoing studies might resolve some of the uncertainties around convalescent plasma therapy for people with asymptomatic or mild disease.

Editor's Choice
  • Iannizzi C
  • Chai KL
  • Piechotta V
  • Valk SJ
  • Kimber C
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2023 Feb 1;2(2):CD013600 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013600.pub5.
POPULATION:

People of any age with mild, moderate or severe COVID-19 (33 randomised controlled trials, n= 24,861).

INTERVENTION:

Convalescent plasma (n= 11,432).

COMPARISON:

Standard plasma, human immunoglobulin, placebo or standard care alone.

OUTCOME:

This living systematic review was a fourth review update version and included 33 studies. The authors identified 49 ongoing studies. For the comparison of convalescent plasma versus placebo or standard care alone, the authors’ certainty in the evidence that convalescent plasma for individuals with moderate to severe disease does not reduce mortality and has little to no impact on clinical improvement or worsening is high. For individuals with mild disease, the authors have low certainty evidence for the primary outcomes.

BACKGROUND:

Convalescent plasma may reduce mortality in patients with viral respiratory diseases, and is being investigated as a potential therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A thorough understanding of the current body of evidence regarding benefits and risks of this intervention is required.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effectiveness and safety of convalescent plasma transfusion in 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 Global literature on coronavirus disease Research Database, MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, and the Epistemonikos COVID-19 L*OVE Platform. We searched monthly until 03 March 2022.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating convalescent plasma 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 evaluating standard immunoglobulin.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We followed standard Cochrane methodology. To assess bias in included studies we used RoB 2. We used the GRADE approach to rate the certainty of evidence for the following outcomes: all-cause mortality at up to day 28, worsening and improvement of clinical status (for individuals with moderate to severe disease), hospital admission or death, COVID-19 symptoms resolution (for individuals with mild disease), quality of life, grade 3 or 4 adverse events, and serious adverse events.

MAIN RESULTS:

In this fourth review update version, we included 33 RCTs with 24,861 participants, of whom 11,432 received convalescent plasma. Of these, nine studies are single-centre studies and 24 are multi-centre studies. Fourteen studies took place in America, eight in Europe, three in South-East Asia, two in Africa, two in western Pacific and three in eastern Mediterranean regions and one in multiple regions. We identified a further 49 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma, and 33 studies reporting as being completed. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and moderate to severe disease 29 RCTs investigated the use of convalescent plasma for 22,728 participants with moderate to severe disease. 23 RCTs with 22,020 participants compared convalescent plasma to placebo or standard care alone, five compared to standard plasma and one compared to human immunoglobulin. We evaluate subgroups on detection of antibodies detection, symptom onset, country income groups and several co-morbidities in the full text. Convalescent plasma versus placebo or standard care alone Convalescent plasma does not reduce all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (risk ratio (RR) 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92 to 1.03; 220 per 1000; 21 RCTs, 19,021 participants; high-certainty evidence). It has little to no impact on need for invasive mechanical ventilation, or death (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.11; 296 per 1000; 6 RCTs, 14,477 participants; high-certainty evidence) and has no impact on whether participants are discharged from hospital (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.02; 665 per 1000; 6 RCTs, 12,721 participants; high-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may have little to no impact on quality of life (MD 1.00, 95% CI -2.14 to 4.14; 1 RCT, 483 participants; low-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may have little to no impact on the risk of grades 3 and 4 adverse events (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.42; 212 per 1000; 6 RCTs, 2392 participants; low-certainty evidence). It has probably little to no effect on the risk of serious adverse events (RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.44; 135 per 1000; 6 RCTs, 3901 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma versus standard plasma We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma reduces or increases all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.19; 129 per 1000; 4 RCTs, 484 participants; very low-certainty evidence). We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma reduces or increases the need for invasive mechanical ventilation, or death (RR 5.59, 95% CI 0.29 to 108.38; 311 per 1000; 1 study, 34 participants; very low-certainty evidence) and whether it reduces or increases the risk of serious adverse events (RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.15; 236 per 1000; 3 RCTs, 327 participants; very low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any study reporting other key outcomes. Convalescent plasma versus human immunoglobulin Convalescent plasma may have little to no effect on all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.50; 464 per 1000; 1 study, 190 participants; low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any study reporting other key outcomes. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mild disease We identified two RCTs reporting on 536 participants, comparing convalescent plasma to placebo or standard care alone, and two RCTs reporting on 1597 participants with mild disease, comparing convalescent plasma to standard plasma. Convalescent plasma versus placebo or standard care alone We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma reduces all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (odds ratio (OR) 0.36, 95% CI 0.09 to 1.46; 8 per 1000; 2 RCTs, 536 participants; very low-certainty evidence). It may have little to no effect on admission to hospital or death within 28 days (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.84; 117 per 1000; 1 RCT, 376 participants; low-certainty evidence), on time to COVID-19 symptom resolution (hazard ratio (HR) 1.05, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.30; 483 per 1000; 1 RCT, 376 participants; low-certainty evidence), on the risk of grades 3 and 4 adverse events (RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.75 to 2.19; 144 per 1000; 1 RCT, 376 participants; low-certainty evidence) and the risk of serious adverse events (RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.94; 133 per 1000; 1 RCT, 376 participants; low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any study reporting other key outcomes. Convalescent plasma versus standard plasma We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma reduces all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.05 to 1.75; 2 per 1000; 2 RCTs, 1597 participants; very low-certainty evidence). It probably reduces admission to hospital or death within 28 days (RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.75; 36 per 1000; 2 RCTs, 1595 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may have little to no effect on initial symptom resolution at up to day 28 (RR 1.12, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.27; 1 RCT, 416 participants; low-certainty evidence). We did not identify any study reporting other key outcomes. This is a living systematic review. We search monthly for new evidence and update the review when we identify relevant new evidence.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

For the comparison of convalescent plasma versus placebo or standard care alone, our certainty in the evidence that convalescent plasma for individuals with moderate to severe disease does not reduce mortality and has little to no impact on clinical improvement or worsening is high. It probably has little to no effect on SAEs. For individuals with mild disease, we have low certainty evidence for our primary outcomes. There are 49 ongoing studies, and 33 studies reported as complete in a trials registry. Publication of ongoing studies might resolve some of the uncertainties around convalescent plasma therapy for people with asymptomatic or mild disease.

  • Kimber C
  • Valk SJ
  • Chai KL
  • Piechotta V
  • Iannizzi C
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2023 Jan 26;1(1):CD015167 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD015167.pub2.
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.

Editor's Choice
  • Piechotta V
  • Iannizzi C
  • Chai KL
  • Valk SJ
  • Kimber C
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021 May 20;5(5):CD013600 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013600.pub4.
POPULATION:

Patients with COVID-19 (13 studies, n= 48,509).

INTERVENTION:

Convalescent plasma (n= 41,880) or hyperimmune immunoglobulin.

COMPARISON:

Standard plasma, placebo treatment or standard care alone,

OUTCOME:

Convalescent plasma does not reduce all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (risk ratio (RR) 0.98, 7 RCTs, 12,646 participants; high-certainty evidence). It has little to no impact on clinical improvement for all participants when assessed by liberation from respiratory support (RR not estimable, 8 RCTs, 12,682 participants; high-certainty evidence). It has little to no impact on the chance of being weaned or liberated from invasive mechanical ventilation for the subgroup of participants requiring invasive mechanical ventilation at baseline (RR 1.04, 2 RCTs, 630 participants; low-certainty evidence). It does not reduce the need for invasive mechanical ventilation (RR 0.98, 4 RCTs, 11,765 participants; high-certainty evidence). There was low-certainty evidence on whether convalescent plasma increases or reduces the risk of grade 3 and 4 adverse events (RR 0.90, 4 RCTs, 905 participants), and serious adverse events (RR 1.24, 2 RCTs, 414 participants). No completed studies were identified on quality of life, or hyperimmune immunoglobulin therapy.

BACKGROUND:

Convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin may reduce mortality in patients with viral respiratory diseases, and are being investigated as potential therapies for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A thorough understanding of the current body of evidence regarding benefits and risks of these interventions is required.  OBJECTIVES: Using a living systematic review approach, to assess whether convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin transfusion is effective and safe in the treatment of people with COVID-19; and to maintain the currency of the evidence.

SEARCH METHODS:

To identify completed and ongoing studies, we searched the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Global literature on coronavirus disease Research Database, MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, the Epistemonikos COVID-19 L*OVE Platform, and trial registries. Searches were done on 17 March 2021.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for COVID-19, irrespective of disease severity, age, gender or ethnicity. For safety assessments, we also included non-controlled non-randomised studies of interventions (NRSIs) if 500 or more participants were included. 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 evaluating standard immunoglobulin.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We followed standard Cochrane methodology. To assess bias in included studies, we used the Cochrane 'Risk of Bias 2' tool for RCTs, and for NRSIs, the assessment criteria for observational studies, provided by Cochrane Childhood Cancer. 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), development of severe clinical COVID-19 symptoms (for individuals with asymptomatic or mild disease), quality of life (including fatigue and functional independence), grade 3 or 4 adverse events, and serious adverse events.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included 13 studies (12 RCTs, 1 NRSI) with 48,509 participants, of whom 41,880 received convalescent plasma. We did not identify any completed studies evaluating hyperimmune immunoglobulin. We identified a further 100 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin, and 33 studies reporting as being completed or terminated. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and moderate to severe disease Eleven RCTs and one NRSI investigated the use of convalescent plasma for 48,349 participants with moderate to severe disease. Nine RCTs compared convalescent plasma to placebo treatment or standard care alone, and two compared convalescent plasma to standard plasma (results not included in abstract). Effectiveness of convalescent plasma We included data on nine RCTs (12,875 participants) to assess the effectiveness of convalescent plasma compared to placebo or standard care alone.  Convalescent plasma does not reduce all-cause mortality at up to day 28 (risk ratio (RR) 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92 to 1.05; 7 RCTs, 12,646 participants; high-certainty evidence). It has little to no impact on clinical improvement for all participants when assessed by liberation from respiratory support (RR not estimable; 8 RCTs, 12,682 participants; high-certainty evidence). It has little to no impact on the chance of being weaned or liberated from invasive mechanical ventilation for the subgroup of participants requiring invasive mechanical ventilation at baseline (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.93; 2 RCTs, 630 participants; low-certainty evidence). It does not reduce the need for invasive mechanical ventilation (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.08; 4 RCTs, 11,765 participants; high-certainty evidence). We did not identify any subgroup differences.  We did not identify any studies reporting quality of life, and therefore, do not know whether convalescent plasma has any impact on quality of life. One RCT assessed resolution of fatigue on day 7, but we are very uncertain about the effect (RR 1.21, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.42; 309 participants; very low-certainty evidence).  Safety of convalescent plasma We included results from eight RCTs, and one NRSI, to assess the safety of convalescent plasma. Some of the RCTs reported on safety data only for the convalescent plasma group.  We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma increases or reduces the risk of grade 3 and 4 adverse events (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.41; 4 RCTs, 905 participants; low-certainty evidence), and serious adverse events (RR 1.24, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.90; 2 RCTs, 414 participants; low-certainty evidence).  A summary of reported events of the NRSI (reporting safety data for 20,000 of 35,322 transfused participants), and four RCTs reporting safety data only for transfused participants (6125 participants) are included in the full text. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and asymptomatic or mild disease We identified one RCT reporting on 160 participants, comparing convalescent plasma to placebo treatment (saline).  Effectiveness of convalescent plasma We are very uncertain about the effect of convalescent plasma on all-cause mortality (RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.09 to 2.65; very low-certainty evidence). We are uncertain about the effect of convalescent plasma on developing severe clinical COVID-19 symptoms (RR not estimable; low-certainty evidence).  We identified no study reporting quality of life.  Safety of convalescent plasma We do not know whether convalescent plasma is associated with a higher risk of grade 3 or 4 adverse events (very low-certainty evidence), or serious adverse events (very low-certainty evidence). This is a living systematic review. We search weekly for new evidence and update the review when we identify relevant new evidence. Please refer to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for the current status of this review.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

We have high certainty in the evidence that convalescent plasma for the treatment of individuals with moderate to severe disease does not reduce mortality and has little to no impact on measures of clinical improvement. We are uncertain about the adverse effects of convalescent plasma. While major efforts to conduct research on COVID-19 are being made, heterogeneous reporting of outcomes is still problematic. There are 100 ongoing studies and 33 studies reporting in a study registry as being completed or terminated. Publication of ongoing studies might resolve some of the uncertainties around hyperimmune immunoglobulin therapy for people with any disease severity, and convalescent plasma therapy for people with asymptomatic or mild disease.

  • Chai KL
  • Valk SJ
  • Piechotta V
  • Kimber C
  • Monsef I
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Oct 12;10:CD013600 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013600.pub3.
BACKGROUND:

Convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin may reduce mortality in patients with viral respiratory diseases, and are currently being investigated in trials as potential therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A thorough understanding of the current body of evidence regarding the benefits and risks is required.  OBJECTIVES: To continually assess, as more evidence becomes available, whether convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin transfusion is effective and safe in treatment of people with COVID-19.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Global Research Database, MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Research Article Database and trial registries to identify completed and ongoing studies on 19 August 2020.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We followed standard Cochrane methodology. We included studies evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for people with COVID-19, irrespective of study design, disease severity, age, gender or ethnicity. We excluded studies including populations with other coronavirus diseases (severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)) and studies evaluating standard immunoglobulin.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

We followed standard Cochrane methodology. To assess bias in included studies, we used the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' 2.0 tool for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), the Risk of Bias in Non-randomised Studies - of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool for controlled non-randomised studies of interventions (NRSIs), and the assessment criteria for observational studies, provided by Cochrane Childhood Cancer for non-controlled NRSIs. We rated the certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach for the following outcomes: all-cause mortality at hospital discharge, mortality (time to event), improvement of clinical symptoms (7, 15, and 30 days after transfusion), grade 3 and 4 adverse events (AEs), and serious adverse events (SAEs).

MAIN RESULTS:

This is the second living update of our review. We included 19 studies (2 RCTs, 8 controlled NRSIs, 9 non-controlled NRSIs) with 38,160 participants, of whom 36,081 received convalescent plasma. Two completed RCTs are awaiting assessment (published after 19 August 2020). We identified a further 138 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin, of which 73 are randomised (3 reported in a study registry as already being completed, but without results). We did not identify any completed studies evaluating hyperimmune immunoglobulin. We did not include data from controlled NRSIs in data synthesis because of critical risk of bias. The overall certainty of evidence was low to very low, due to study limitations and results including both potential benefits and harms.  Effectiveness of convalescent plasma for people with COVID-19  We included results from two RCTs (both stopped early) with 189 participants, of whom 95 received convalescent plasma. Control groups received standard care at time of treatment without convalescent plasma. We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma decreases all-cause mortality at hospital discharge (risk ratio (RR) 0.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.22 to 1.34; 1 RCT, 86 participants; low-certainty evidence).  We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma decreases mortality (time to event) (hazard ratio (HR) 0.64, 95% CI 0.33 to 1.25; 2 RCTs, 189 participants; low-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may result in little to no difference in improvement of clinical symptoms (i.e. need for respiratory support) at seven days (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.30 to 3.19; 1 RCT, 103 participants; low-certainty evidence). Convalescent plasma may increase improvement of clinical symptoms at up to 15 days (RR 1.34, 95% CI 0.85 to 2.11; 2 RCTs, 189 participants; low-certainty evidence), and at up to 30 days (RR 1.13, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.43; 2 studies, 188 participants; low-certainty evidence).  No studies reported on quality of life.  Safety of convalescent plasma for people with COVID-19 We included results from two RCTs, eight controlled NRSIs and nine non-controlled NRSIs assessing safety of convalescent plasma. Reporting of safety data and duration of follow-up was variable. The controlled studies reported on AEs and SAEs only in participants receiving convalescent plasma. Some, but not all, studies included death as a SAE.  The studies did not report the grade of AEs. Fourteen studies (566 participants) reported on AEs of possible grade 3 or 4 severity. The majority of these AEs were allergic or respiratory events. We are very uncertain whether convalescent plasma therapy affects the risk of moderate to severe AEs (very low-certainty evidence).  17 studies (35,944 participants) assessed SAEs for 20,622 of its participants. The majority of participants were from one non-controlled NRSI (20,000 participants), which reported on SAEs within the first four hours and within an additional seven days after transfusion. There were 63 deaths, 12 were possibly and one was probably related to transfusion. There were 146 SAEs within four hours and 1136 SAEs within seven days post-transfusion. These were predominantly allergic or respiratory, thrombotic or thromboembolic and cardiac events. We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma therapy results in a clinically relevant increased risk of SAEs (low-certainty evidence).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

We are uncertain whether convalescent plasma is beneficial for people admitted to hospital with COVID-19. There was limited information regarding grade 3 and 4 AEs to determine the effect of convalescent plasma therapy on clinically relevant SAEs. In the absence of a control group, we are unable to assess the relative safety of convalescent plasma therapy.  While major efforts to conduct research on COVID-19 are being made, recruiting the anticipated number of participants into these studies is problematic. The early termination of the first two RCTs investigating convalescent plasma, and the lack of data from 20 studies that have completed or were due to complete at the time of this update illustrate these challenges. Well-designed studies should be prioritised. Moreover, studies should report outcomes in the same way, and should consider the importance of maintaining comparability in terms of co-interventions administered in all study arms.  There are 138 ongoing studies evaluating convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin, of which 73 are RCTs (three already completed). This is the second living update of the review, and we will continue to update this review periodically. Future updates may show different results to those reported here.