Members of the National Institutes of Health Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel say there is currently not enough information on convalescent plasma to recommend for or against the treatment.
“Taking everything into account, the Panel has determined that currently the data are insufficient to recommend for or against convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19,” an article published Friday in the Annals of Internal Medicine stated.
The panel, which provides guidance for US clinicians on the treatment of coronavirus, calls for “prospective, well-controlled, adequately powered” randomized control trials to determine the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma.
Some background: The US Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of Covid-19 in August. The FDA cited analyses of a convalescent plasma expanded access program, run through the Mayo Clinic, to support the decision.
But the panel said that the data from the expanded access program show that the treatment may be effective — but are not enough to establish safety or efficacy, citing the lack of an untreated control group.
While randomized control trials for convalescent plasma started in the US this year, the panel said that enrollment has been slow. They note that the only time the treatment has been proven effective against an infectious disease, Argentine hemorrhagic fever, was more than 40 years ago.
The panel calls for additional analyses of the expanded access program and completion of the current randomized control trials.