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Eur J Intern Med ; 97: 42-49, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587881


OBJECTIVES AND BACKGROUND: Convalescent plasma (CP) has been used worldwide to contrast SARS-CoV-2 infection. Since April 2020, it has also been used in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 in the Veneto region (Italy), along with all the other available drugs and therapeutic tools. Here we report data analysis and clinical results in 1,517 COVID-19 inpatients treated with CP containing high-titre neutralizing anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (CCP). Mortality after 30 days of hospitalization has been considered primary outcome, by comparing patients treated with CCP vs all COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals of the Veneto region in a one-year period (from April 2020 to April 2021). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Adult inpatients with a severe form of COVID-19 have been enrolled, with at least one of the following inclusion criteria: 1) tachypnea with respiratory rate (RR) ≥ 30 breaths/min; 2) oxygen saturation (SpO2) ≤ 93% at rest and in room air; 3) partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2)/fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) ≤ 200 mmHg, 4) radiological picture and/or chest CT scan showing signs of interstitial disease and/or rapid progression of lung involvement. Patients received a maximum of three therapeutic fractions (TFs) of CCP with a neutralizing antibody titre of ≥ 1:160, administered over a period of 3-5 days. If TFs of CCP with titre ≥ 1:160 were unavailable, 2 with antibody titre of ≥ 1:80 have been administered. RESULTS: Of the 1,517 patients treated with CCP, 209 deceased at the 30-day follow-up (14%). Death was significantly associated with an older age (p<0.001), a longer time of hospitalization before CCP infusion (p<0.001), a greater number of inclusion criteria (p<0.001) and associated comorbidities (p<0.001). Conditions significantly associated with an increased frequency of death were PaO2/FiO2 ≤ 200 (p<0.001) and tachypnea with RR>30 (p<0.05) at entry, concurrent arterial hypertension (p<0.001), cardiovascular disease (p<0.001), chronic kidney disease (p<0.001), dyslipidemia (p<0.05) and cancer (p<0.05). Moreover, factors leading to an unfavorable prognosis were a life-threatening disease (p<0.001), admission to Intensive Care Unit (p<0.001), high flow oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation (p<0.05) and a chest X-ray showing consolidation area (p<0.001). By analyzing the regional report of hospitalized patients, a comparison of mortality by age group, with respect to our series of patients treated with CCP, has been made. Mortality was altogether lower in patients treated with CCP (14% v. 25%), especially in the group of the elderly patients (23% vs 40%,), with a strong significance (p<0.001). As regards the safety of CCP administration, 16 adverse events were recorded out of a total of 3,937 transfused TFs (0,4%). CONCLUSIONS: To overcome the difficulties of setting up a randomized controlled study in an emergency period, a data collection from a large series of patients with severe COVID-19 admitted to CCP therapy with well-defined inclusion criteria has been implemented in the Veneto region. Our results have shown that in patients with severe COVID-19 early treatment with CCP might contribute to a favourable outcome, with a reduced mortality, in absence of relevant adverse events.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Inpatients , Registries , Treatment Outcome
Transfus Apher Sci ; 60(4): 103154, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1230803


BACKGROUND: Convalescent plasma (CP) has been used in the past in various pandemics, in particular in H1N1, SARS and MERS infections. In Spring 2020, when ongoing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemics, the Veneto Region (V-R) has proposed setting-up an anti-SARS-CoV-2 CP (CCP) Bank, with the aim of preparing a supply of CCP immediately available in case of subsequest epidemic waves. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Key-points to be developed for a quick set-up of the V-R CCP Bank have been recruitment of donors recovered from COVID-19 infection, laboratory analysis for the biological qualification of the CCP units, including titre of neutralizing antibodies and reduction of pathogens, according to National Blood Centre (CNS) Directives, adaptation of the V-R Information Technology systems and cost analysis. Some activities, including diagnostic and viral inactivation processes, have been centralized in 2 or 3 sites. Laboratory analysis upon preliminary admission of the donor included all tests required by the Italian laws and the CNS directives. RESULTS: From April to August 2020, 3,298 people have contacted the V-R Blood Transfusion Services: of these, 1,632 have been evaluated and examined as first time donors and those found to be suitable have carried out 955 donations, from which 2,626 therapeutic fractions have been obtained, at a cost around 215,00 Euro. Since October 2020, the number of COVID-19 inpatients has had a surge with a heavy hospital overload. Moreover, the high request of CCP therapy by clinicians has been just as unexpected, showing a wide therapeutic use. CONCLUSIONS: The organizational model here presented, which has allowed the rapid collection of a large amount of CCP, could be useful when facing new pandemic outbreaks, especially in low and middle income countries, with generally acceptable costs.

Blood Banks/organization & administration , COVID-19/therapy , Civil Defense/organization & administration , Pandemics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Blood Banks/economics , Blood Donors , Blood Safety/methods , Blood-Borne Infections/prevention & control , Costs and Cost Analysis , Donor Selection/legislation & jurisprudence , Humans , Immunization, Passive/statistics & numerical data , Italy , Models, Organizational , Plasma , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Inactivation