Background: Although many trials are currently investigating the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma (CP) in critically ill COVID-19 patients, there is a paucity of ongoing and published studies evaluating the CP donors' side. This retrospective study reports the first Italian experience on CP donors' selection and donations. Methods: Patients aged 18-68 years who had recovered from COVID-19 at least 2 weeks previously were recruited between March 18 and June 30, 2020 in a study protocol at the Italian hospitals of Pavia and Mantova. Results: During the study period, 494 of 512 donors recruited were judged eligible and underwent 504 plasmapheresis procedures. Eighty-five percent (437/512) of the CP donors were males. The average time between symptom recovery and CP donation was 36.6 (±20.0) days. Four hundred and eighty-eight plasmapheresis procedures (96.8%) were concluded and each unit was divided into two subunits (total 976) with an average volume of 316.2 (±22.7) mL. Ninety-three percent (460/494) of CP donors at the time of plasma donation had a neutralizing IgG titer ≥1:80. Plasmapheresis-related adverse reactions occurred in 2.6% (13/504) of cases; all the reactions were mild and none required therapeutic intervention. Donors' age and COVID-19 severity were positively associated with greater antibody responses. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the feasibility and safety of a pilot CP program conducted in Italy. The identification of factors (ie, age and severity of COVID-19) positively associated with higher neutralizing antibody titers at the time of donation may help to optimize the selection of CP donors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy