Plasma treatment not helpful to critically ill COVID-19 patients, study involving UPMC shows

PITTSBURGH — A COVID-19 study involving University of Pittsburgh Medical Center scientists shows that convalescent plasma does not help people who become critically ill from the virus.

The international research team behind the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, said it gathered enough data to indicate with greater than 99% certainty that plasma was “futile” as a treatment for those who fell critically ill with the coronavirus.

However, a group of 126 patients who were considered immunocompromised and enrolled in the study did somewhat better with plasma treatment.

Meanwhile, Merck is developing a first-of-its-kind treatment for COVID-19: a pill, which the drugmaker said on Friday reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by about half. Merck said it plans to submit an application for emergency use authorization of the drug “as soon as possible.”

>>STORY: Merck says pill to treat COVID-19 cuts risk of death, hospitalization by half