Plasma therapy may work for patients with severe 2009 H1N1 infection

Washington, Jan 20 (ANI): Using plasma from patients who have recovered from an infection to treat those with the same infection is an old medical therapy to treat multiple diseases.

The same convalescent plasma therapy could also work on people with severe 2009 H1N1 influenza, according to a new Chinese study.

It found that the death rate among swine flu patients was reduced after they received plasma from recovered patients.

The study involved 93 patients with severe 2009 H1N1 infection in Hong Kong between September 2009 and June 2010.

Twenty patients received convalescent plasma from recovered patients and the other 73 acted as study 'controls'.

Mortality in the treatment group was 20 percent, compared to 55 percent 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," he added.

The study will be published in the February 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. (ANI)

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