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WHO says blood plasma unlikely to help cure Covid patients

Covid-19 has infected more than 266M people and killed over 5.2M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments:
Several studies testing convalescent blood plasma have shown no apparent benefit for treating Covid patients who are severely ill.
Several studies testing convalescent blood plasma have shown no apparent benefit for treating Covid patients who are severely ill. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

WHO advises against using blood plasma to treat Covid patients

The World Health Organization has advised against using the blood plasma of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 to treat those who are ill, saying current evidence shows it neither improves survival nor reduces the need for ventilators.

The hypothesis for using plasma is that the antibodies it contains could neutralize the novel coronavirus, stopping it from replicating and halting tissue damage.

Several studies testing convalescent blood plasma have shown no apparent benefit for treating COVID-19 patients who are severely ill.

A US-based trial was halted in March after it was found that plasma was unlikely to help mild-to-moderate Covid-19 patients.

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The method is also costly and time-consuming to administer, the WHO said in a statement on Monday.

A panel of international experts made a strong recommendation against the use of convalescent plasma in patients with non-severe illness, the WHO said. They also advised against its use in patients with severe and critical illness, except in the context of a randomized controlled trial.

The recommendation, published in the British Medical Journal, is based on evidence from 16 trials involving 16,236 patients with non-severe, severe, and critical Covid-19 infection.

No diplomats from New Zealand to Beijing Olympics

New Zealand will not be sending diplomatic representatives at a ministerial level to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has said, citing Covid-19 as the reason.

The comments come after the United States said this week that it would not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics due to China’s human rights “atrocities”.

He emphasised that New Zealand had raised its human rights concerns with China previously.

China’s strict travel restrictions worry’s British firms

China’s tight restrictions on international travel as part of its zero-tolerance approach to controlling Covid-19 are the top concern for British firms operating in the country but they are more optimistic than last year, a survey has shown.

While other countries in Asia have slowly opened up their borders to international travel, China still has strict curbs in place involving long quarantines and limits on flights and visas.

Its survey, which had 288 respondents, showed nearly a quarter of companies saw foreign staff numbers fall in 2021, and 41 percent expect numbers to decrease significantly next year on concerns over separation from family or friends or uncertainties over being able to come back.

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