Back in January 2016, researchers of the ITM-led Ebola-Tx consortium reported in New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that treatment with convalescent plasma was safe, but efficacy was not demonstrated. However, the concentration of antibodies present in the donor plasma was not known at that time.
In the NEJM letter published on 14 November 2016, the researchers looked at whether the dose of antibodies administered to the patients could be associated to the treatment’s efficacy. Patients who received a higher dose of antibodies against the Ebola virus indeed had a lower viral load after the transfusion.
However, there unfortunately was no significant association with mortality. Further studies are needed to assess whether efficacy can be improved by further increasing the antibody dose or with concentrated forms of antibodies such as hyperimmune serum.
The European-Union funded Ebola-Tx trial took place in Conakry, Guinea, at the height of the Ebola epidemic.
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