Potential use of Convalescent Plasma in COVID-19: A journey of thought-sharing on MPS-YPC towards worldwide scientific community

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By Sally Ng

A PRP who loves trying new things and aspires to travel the world one day.

Remember the write-up I wrote about the use of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 a few months back? Fret not, here’s the link for you to catch up about it (if you wish to do so) before indulging the rest of this follow-up article regarding my first ever scientific publication on this topic.

How it all began

It all started when I was given the opportunity to write about convalescent plasma for COVID-19 treatment and published it here in YPC. My lecturer from Monash University, Dr Goh Bey Hing read it and suggested me to continue researching and writing further about this topic to publish it in a scientific journal. Hey, that’s a great opportunity for me I thought, so I said yes and continued exploring this topic.

What I’ve found

My review article discussed the possible mechanism of action, benefits, safety profile and the current usage level by reviewing literature on convalescent plasma transfusion. A form of passive immunization, convalescent plasma is acquired from recovered COVID-19 patients consist of neutralizing antibodies, non-neutralizing antibodies, immunoglobulins and other factors and cytokines. The possible mechanism of actions upon convalescent plasma transfusion include Fc-mediated antibody effects, direct virus neutralization, immunomodulation and inflammation as summarized in the following figure.

Figures showing the possible mechanism of actions of convalescent plasma transfusion.

The workflow from collection, storage and administration of convalescent plasma were also discussed in detail in the article. Case series reporting convalescent plasma use in COVID-19 patients up to 30th May 2020 were summarized in the article. From these literature, most participants whom were severe and critically ill showed positive clinical outcomes, reduced viral load and had high survival rate upon the transfusion. Despite the risk of adverse events (which were explained further in the article), generally, convalescent plasma transfusion was well tolerated along with relatively a few reported rare cases of adverse events. With detailed information on convalescent plasma, this therapy seems to be promising and may potentially provide protection against COVID-19 although further clinical trials are required to ensure its efficacy, safety, optimal dose, duration and timing of administration.

Enough with the scientific terms already! Image from memegenerator.net

How was it ?

Since it was my first time writing scientifically, I was lost in the beginning. Only after combing through various literature on convalescent plasma and COVID-19, I had a brief idea on how to start and what to write about. Honestly, the whole process can be long and tedious. I felt demotivated, frustrated and almost gave up when the few initial submissions of this article were rejected by a few journals.

When I (finally) got an email from the journal editor that this article finally reached the proof-reading stage, I literally jumped up from my bed and did a big celebratory dance, woohoo!  To me, this was a big achievement for a newbie like me to step into the world of scientific writing. So, I would like to say a huge thank you to Dr Goh Bey Hing for seeing the potential in me and his assistance in editing the manuscript together with other co-authors. I also want to express my gratitude towards MPS-YPC for providing me with the platform to kick-start my writing journey.

I hope this sharing may have sparked at least some interest in you in writing scientifically or even writing in general. It’s all in the favor of contributing to the progression of science and pushing the boundaries of knowledge.

“Ancora Imparo” – I am still learning!

The best feeling ever! Image from phdcomics.com

Ng SL, Soon TN, Yap WH, Liew KB, Lim YC, Ming LC, Tang YQ, Goh BH. Convalescent plasma: A potential therapeutic option for COVID-19 patients. Asian Pac J Trop Med [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2020 Aug 22]. Available from: http://www.apjtm.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=291408 DOI: 10.4103/1995-7645.291408