At the microphone of Mélanie Gomez, Karine Lacombe, head of the infectiology service at the Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris, explained how the Coviplasm experiment, which she coordinates, could help stem the Covid-19 epidemic on the territory.
What is this essay about? According to Professor Karine Lacombe, this involves "transfusing plasma from a convalescent patient to a sick person". "By carrying out this transfusion, we inject antibodies that will induce immunization against the disease and therefore accelerate healing," explains the doctor.
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The experience begins on Tuesday with a first step: plasma collection. It will be recovered from 200 former patients who were exposed to the virus in "areas where there have been many patients such as the Grand-Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Île-de-France", specifies Karine Lacombe . If this number is so high, it is to "obtain a fairly representative panel of blood groups" and thus promote blood compatibility between convalescents and patients, she explains.
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The patients targeted in this test are among the most serious or most fragile cases. This sorting will "prevent them from being transferred to intensive care", explains the professor.
A long work then awaits the doctors since they will have, according to Karine Lacombe, "to verify all the characteristics of plasmas". The aim is thus to ensure that "they do not contain infectious agents and that they have interesting antibodies", she affirms.
A test in stages
If these results are convincing, the trial will then take place next week. The patients will be divided into two parts: "the group called 'control' which will benefit from standard care with drug treatment", according to Karine Lacombe, while the second will receive blood transfusion. Doctors will then compare the results to find out how effective this method is on Covid-19.
The Coviplasm experience is already raising many hopes, according to Karine Lacombe, who considers that "the preliminary results from China are interesting". She also explains that transfusion is a method already used to treat other illnesses.
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She cites for example "SARS-CoV, virus responsible for the epidemic of severe pneumonia between 2002 and 2003", "the epidemic of H1N1 flu", even if it did not work for example on Ebola. "It is very well known and supervised but it is not free from side effects", she assures, mentioning in particular allergy and pulmonary complications in certain cases.
The professor remains confident. "If we receive an early signal of very good efficacy, we can certainly offer it to a large number of patients hospitalized during the month of May," she said.