While researchers investigate recovered patient antibody treatments for COVID-19, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is a similar type of treatment that is already available and could be used for COVID-19, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, comments: “IVIg is generated from the pooled immunoglobulin G of approximately one thousand blood donors. As the frequency of patients that have recovered from COVID-19 increases, the likelihood of having a recovered donor patient increases. These donors could be recovered or asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. Recovered patients only have to wait 28 days before they are cleared for donating. IVIg differs from recovered patient antibodies in that there is no guarantee that the pooling contains COVID-19-specific antibodies.”
Hospitals already have IVIg in stock. It has already been approved for treating autoimmune, infectious, idiopathic diseases, and is used as an adjunctive therapy for the treatment of severe pneumonia caused by influenza. It has a known safety profile and can be administered intravenously in a hospital setting.
Swanson continues: “Some small studies have shown that early treatment with IVIg, within 48 hours of admission, can help reduce ventilator use, reduce hospital and intensive care unit stay, and improve mortality.”
The timing of the administration may be a critical part of this treatment, as patients may need to be assessed for their likelihood of developing severe COVID-19. IVIg treatment is also expensive, with cost ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 depending on the patient’s weight and number of infusions per course.
Swanson adds: “While a vaccine and an approved recovered patient antibody treatment are still in the works, IVIg could help save patient’s lives in the meantime.”