Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Efficacy and Safety of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma in Hospitalized Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med 2021 Dec 13



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID



Importance: There is clinical equipoise for COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) use in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Objective: To determine the safety and efficacy of CCP compared with placebo in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 receiving noninvasive supplemental oxygen.

Design, Setting, and Participants: CONTAIN COVID-19, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of CCP in hospitalized adults with COVID-19, was conducted at 21 US hospitals from April 17, 2020, to March 15, 2021. The trial enrolled 941 participants who were hospitalized for 3 or less days or presented 7 or less days after symptom onset and required noninvasive oxygen supplementation.

Interventions: A unit of approximately 250 mL of CCP or equivalent volume of placebo (normal saline).

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was participant scores on the 11-point World Health Organization (WHO) Ordinal Scale for Clinical Improvement on day 14 after randomization; the secondary outcome was WHO scores determined on day 28. Subgroups were analyzed with respect to age, baseline WHO score, concomitant medications, symptom duration, CCP SARS-CoV-2 titer, baseline SARS-CoV-2 serostatus, and enrollment quarter. Outcomes were analyzed using a bayesian proportional cumulative odds model. Efficacy of CCP was defined as a cumulative adjusted odds ratio (cOR) less than 1 and a clinically meaningful effect as cOR less than 0.8.

Results: Of 941 participants randomized (473 to placebo and 468 to CCP), 556 were men (59.1%); median age was 63 years (IQR, 52-73); 373 (39.6%) were Hispanic and 132 (14.0%) were non-Hispanic Black. The cOR for the primary outcome adjusted for site, baseline risk, WHO score, age, sex, and symptom duration was 0.94 (95% credible interval [CrI], 0.75-1.18) with posterior probability (P[cOR<1] = 72%); the cOR for the secondary adjusted outcome was 0.92 (95% CrI, 0.74-1.16; P[cOR<1] = 76%). Exploratory subgroup analyses suggested heterogeneity of treatment effect: at day 28, cORs were 0.72 (95% CrI, 0.46-1.13; P[cOR<1] = 93%) for participants enrolled in April-June 2020 and 0.65 (95% CrI, 0.41 to 1.02; P[cOR<1] = 97%) for those not receiving remdesivir and not receiving corticosteroids at randomization. Median CCP SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing titer used in April to June 2020 was 1:175 (IQR, 76-379). Any adverse events (excluding transfusion reactions) were reported for 39 (8.2%) placebo recipients and 44 (9.4%) CCP recipients (P = .57). Transfusion reactions occurred in 2 (0.4) placebo recipients and 8 (1.7) CCP recipients (P = .06).

Conclusions and Relevance: In this trial, CCP did not meet the prespecified primary and secondary outcomes for CCP efficacy. However, high-titer CCP may have benefited participants early in the pandemic when remdesivir and corticosteroids were not in use.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT04364737.

Author List

Ortigoza MB, Yoon H, Goldfeld KS, Troxel AB, Daily JP, Wu Y, Li Y, Wu D, Cobb GF, Baptiste G, O'Keeffe M, Corpuz MO, Ostrosky-Zeichner L, Amin A, Zacharioudakis IM, Jayaweera DT, Wu Y, Philley JV, Devine MS, Desruisseaux MS, Santin AD, Anjan S, Mathew R, Patel B, Nigo M, Upadhyay R, Kupferman T, Dentino AN, Nanchal R, Merlo CA, Hager DN, Chandran K, Lai JR, Rivera J, Bikash CR, Lasso G, Hilbert TP, Paroder M, Asencio AA, Liu M, Petkova E, Bragat A, Shaker R, McPherson DD, Sacco RL, Keller MJ, Grudzen CR, Hochman JS, Pirofski LA, CONTAIN COVID-19 Consortium for the CONTAIN COVID-19 Study Group , Parameswaran L, Corcoran AT, Rohatgi A, Wronska MW, Wu X, Srinivasan R, Deng FM, Filardo TD, Pendse J, Blaser SB, Whyte O, Gallagher JM, Thomas OE, Ramos D, Sturm-Reganato CL, Fong CC, Daus IM, Payoen AG, Chiofolo JT, Friedman MT, Wu DW, Jacobson JL, Schneider JG, Sarwar UN, Wang HE, Huebinger RM, Dronavalli G, Bai Y, Grimes CZ, Eldin KW, Umana VE, Martin JG, Heath TR, Bello FO, Ransford DL, Laurent-Rolle M, Shenoi SV, Akide-Ndunge OB, Thapa B, Peterson JL, Knauf K, Patel SU, Cheney LL, Tormey CA, Hendrickson JE


Bipin Thapa MD Assistant Dean, Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin