A retrospective study assessing the characteristics of COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors and donations

Claudia Del Fante, Massimo Franchini, Fausto Baldanti, Elena Percivalle, Claudia Glingani, Giuseppe Marano, Carlo Mengoli, Cristina Mortellaro, Gianluca Viarengo, Cesare Perotti, Giancarlo Maria Liumbruno

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-838
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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