Potential new blood treatment for severe H1N1 infection
31 Jan 2011
A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious
Diseases suggests that convalescent plasma may reduce the death
rate in patients severely ill with 2009 H1N1 influenza.
Convalescent plasma therapy, which uses blood plasma from patients
who have recovered from an infection to treat those with the same
infection, has been used to treat multiple diseases. However, the
efficacy of this treatment in patients with severe 2009 H1N1
influenza is unknown.
From September 2009 through June 2010, patients from a hospital
cluster in Hong Kong with severe 2009 H1N1 infection requiring
intensive care were recruited for the study. Of the 93 patients in
the study, 20 received the plasma treatment. Prior patients who had
recovered from H1N1 infection provided the convalescent plasma for
the study. The 73 members of the study who declined the treatment
were the study controls.
Mortality in the treatment group was 20%, compared to 55% in the
non-treatment group. The viral load in the treatment group also
decreased at a higher rate than in the control group. None of the
patients developed adverse events from the treatment.
“One of the benefits of convalescent plasma treatment in patients
with severe influenza A infection is that it does not suffer from
the problem of drug resistance,” said study author Kowk-Yung Yuen,
MD, of the University of Hong Kong in China.
“Additionally, it would remain effective until the virus has
changed significantly enough to affect immunity. This form of
treatment may be useful in future novel viral infections.”
Hung et al. Convalescent Plasma Treatment Reduced
Mortality in Patients With Severe Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) 2009
Virus Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2011:52.