COVID-19 therapy with recovered plasma and vitamin D?
Research into effective drugs against the COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has been researched around the world since the beginning of the pandemic, but so far there has been no real breakthrough. Some hopes are placed in treatments with blood plasma from those who have recovered. The administration of vitamin D is also being discussed as a possible therapy aid. But more recent findings indicate that these therapeutic approaches are little or no effective.
Especially at the beginning of the corona pandemic, COVID-19 sufferers were also treated with the blood plasma of recovered corona patients in numerous clinics. In addition, vitamin D supplementation was discussed as a therapeutic approach in specialist circles. Unfortunately, however, the systematic reviews show little or no effectiveness for both therapies. There is now robust evidence on plasma therapy, while the study situation for vitamin D is currently still very uncertain.
Finding effective therapies
As the research network Cochrane writes in a recent press release, vaccinations against COVID-19 are making good progress in many countries. On the other hand, the search for effective therapies for COVID-19 patients has so far been less positive.
According to the experts, the number of more or less plausible approaches is difficult to keep track of, and the results from sometimes unreliable studies are often contradicting one another.
According to the information, the evidence ecosystem CEOsys, a research association of 20 German university hospitals financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in which Cochrane is also involved, has set itself the goal of summarizing the results of the steadily growing number of clinical studies.
The scientists at CEOsys sift through and evaluate all available study results and create closely updated syntheses of evidence that reflect the current state of research. These syntheses of evidence by CEOsys are the basis for numerous recommendations of the German S3 guideline for inpatient treatment of COVID-19.
This work from CEOsys is now also part of a series of probably ten Cochrane reviews on approaches to COVID-19 therapy that are to appear in the coming weeks. It starts with reviews of convalescent plasma and vitamin D.
First, on May 20, the fourth update of the Cochrane Review on the effects of so-called convalescent plasma was published. This is blood plasma from donors who have recovered from COVID-19.
It contains antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and could help the immune system of sick recipients in the fight against the virus, so the hope. However, the evidence summarized in the review from nine randomized controlled studies of high reliability with over 12,000 participants does not confirm this:
“It is regrettable, but all the more important to know: Convalescent plasma is not an effective therapy for patients who are treated in hospital due to the severity of their COVID-19 disease,” explains the main author of the review, Vanessa Piechotta from the University Hospital Cologne and Cochrane Hematology.
In an interview on the German-language Cochrane blog “Wissen Was Wirkt”, the expert also says: “We cannot yet draw a complete line on the subject of plasma therapy, because we still have to clarify some remaining uncertainties.”
The new Cochrane Review, also created by Cochrane Haematology, on the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of COVID-19 was published on May 24th.
The approach is primarily based on the observation that people with COVID-19 often have low vitamin D levels. However, it is controversial whether this is a causal relationship.
The results of the current review are far less clear. The authors conclude that there is currently insufficient evidence to determine the benefits and harms of vitamin D supplementation for the treatment of COVID-19.
However, the scientists found a number of ongoing studies that could soon allow a better assessment of this approach. These will then be included in the updates to the review that will be planned soon. (ad)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- Cochrane Germany: COVID-19 therapy: Cochrane reviews on convalescent plasma and vitamin D, (accessed: June 8, 2021), Cochrane Germany
- Vanessa Piechotta, Claire Iannizzi, Khai Li Chai, Sarah J Valk, Catherine Kimber, Elena Dorando, Ina Monsef, Erica M Wood, Abigail A Lamikanra, David J Roberts, Zoe McQuilten, Cynthia So-Osman, Lise J Estcourt, Nicole Skoetz: Convalescent plasma or hyperimmune immunoglobulin for people with COVID‐19: a living systematic review; in: Cochrane Libary, (veröffentlicht: 20.05.2021), Cochrane Libary
- Cochrane Germany: Blog Knowledge What Works: COVID-19 therapy with convalescent plasma: No effect in the case of more severe courses, (accessed: June 8, 2021), Knowledge Was Works
- Julia Kristin Stroehlein, Julia Wallqvist, Claire Iannizzi, Agata Mikolajewska, Maria-Inti Metzendorf, Carina Benstoem, Patrick Meybohm, Marie Becker, Nicole Skoetz, Miriam Stegemann, Vanessa Piechotta: Vitamin D supplementation for the treatment of COVID‐19: a living systematic review; in: Cochrane Libary, (veröffentlicht: 24.05.2021), Cochrane Libary
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.