Case study: Convalescent plasma therapy
What did we do?
Part of Health Technology Wales’ role is to enable evidence-informed decision making. This has been important during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Donating this convalescent plasma into someone with an ongoing SARS-CoV-2 infection could give them passive immunity.
We produced a Topic Exploration Report (TER) on convalescent plasma therapy for people with COVID-19, which aimed to assess the current level of evidence and highlight ongoing evidence generation.
We also developed an additional Costing Review to reflect the procurement and deployment of plasmapheresis machines in Wales.
We collaborated with a range of representatives from Public Health Wales, Welsh Blood Service and Welsh Government who were looking into the practicalities of using convalescent plasma therapy for people with COVID-19.
What were the reactions?
The Public Health Wales, Welsh Blood Service and Welsh Government collaborative had a positive reaction to our TER and costing review and were reassured by the findings. The TER also received more than 100 webpage views in the first month after it was published on our website.
Our work has also attracted interest and recognition from the European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA), and HTW are now leading a EUnetHTA rolling Relative Effectiveness Assessment for convalescent plasma therapy.
What did people learn?
Overall, convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 lacks a mature evidence base. However, there are several active trials and a rapidly developing literature base. We have already published an updated TER to reflect newly available evidence, and we expect there to be further updates as the field progresses.
Our researchers found some evidence on the effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy to confer passive immunity for COVID-19. This is supported by evidence from other broadly comparable disease areas. Research into related conditions, such as SARS, may help inform the development of research and use of convalescent plasma therapy.
What difference will this make?
The TER and costing review will contribute to the decision making of Public Health Wales, Welsh Blood Service and Welsh Government collaborative. It will help to define their direction and optimise health and care outcomes in Wales. This work will also inform the ongoing EUnetHTA Relative Effectiveness Assessment.
Visit our dedicated COVID-19 web page. This is regularly updated with new information about the ways we’re working and services we offer.