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Convalescent Plasma May Cut Deaths in Hematologic Cancer and COVID-19

Lower 30-day mortality seen in hospitalized adults, including those admitted to ICU, requiring mechanical ventilation

MONDAY, June 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For hospitalized patients with hematologic cancers and COVID-19, convalescent plasma therapy is associated with lower 30-day mortality, according to a study published online June 17 in JAMA Oncology.

Michael A. Thompson, M.D., Ph.D., from Aurora Cancer Care in Milwaukee, and colleagues examined the association between convalescent plasma treatment and 30-day mortality in hospitalized adults with hematologic cancers and COVID-19 in a retrospective cohort study. Data were included for 966 individuals: 143 convalescent plasma recipients and 823 untreated control patients.

The researchers found that convalescent plasma treatment was associated with improved 30-day mortality after adjustment for potential confounding variables (hazard ratio, 0.60). After propensity score matching, the association remained significant (hazard ratio, 0.52). For the 338 patients admitted to the intensive care unit, convalescent plasma recipients had significantly lower mortality compared with nonrecipients (hazard ratio for propensity score-matched comparison, 0.40). Mortality was also significantly lower for convalescent plasma recipients among the 227 patients who required mechanical ventilatory support (hazard ratio for propensity score-matched comparison, 0.32).

“Convalescent plasma therapy was associated with a survival benefit in patients with hematologic cancers and COVID-19,” the authors write. “If this finding should hold up in prospective clinical trials, convalescent plasma would be, to our knowledge, the first COVID-19 intervention with a survival benefit in this high-risk population.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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