Monday, March 23, 2020

Plasma therapy for SARS-1

1. Recently there's been national news about the use of hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin as an antiviral agent against the coronavirus. For example, see my post here. In the opinion of a nobody like me, I think hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin may be promising - for example there's lots of anecdotal evidence, and there's the now-famous small study out of France - but let's not get out hopes up too much. We need more and better studies, which we can fast track. That's what I'd say anyway.

2. At the same time, I've mentioned convalescent plasma therapy more than once (e.g. this post). Here is a thorough review of the scientific literature regarding the effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy in the first SARS virus back in 2002-2003: "The Effectiveness of Convalescent Plasma and Hyperimmune Immunoglobulin for the Treatment of Severe Acute Respiratory Infections of Viral Etiology: A Systematic Review and Exploratory Meta-analysis" (2015). It's published by The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

I presume most people likely already know our current coronavirus pandemic was started by the SARS-2 virus (i.e. SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19). But I mention it just in case some don't.

3. Likewise Arturo Casadevall at Johns Hopkins is starting a grassroots organization called the COVID-19 convalescent plasma project.

4. Of course, these aren't mutually exclusive. We can pursue both as well as other viable means to combat the coronavirus (e.g. remdesivir). In fact, we already are pursuing many other viable means to combat the coronavirus (e.g. see this Science article). Ultimately the best solution would be a vaccine. But at this point it looks like a vaccine is at least a year away if not much longer. So we need something in the interim.

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