Due to the potential of a severe pandemic to limit efficacy or availability of medical countermeasures, some researchers have begun a search for new interventions that could complement the planned antiviral- and vaccine-based response to an influenza pandemic. One such countermeasure - the transfusion of pandemic influenza-specific antibodies from surviving patients to the clinically ill - is the focus of this commentary. Passive immunotherapy, which includes the use of monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs), hyperimmune globulin, or convalescent plasma, had been used before the advent of antibiotics and has recently reentered the limelight due to the accelerating development of MoAb therapies against cancer, a number of microbes, allograft rejection, and a host of other conditions. After the plausible biologic mechanism and somewhat limited data supporting the efficacy for this modality against influenza are reviewed, safety and logistical concerns for utilization of this potential new product (fresh convalescent plasma against influenza [FCP-Flu]) are discussed. FCP-Flu could indeed prove useful in a response to a pandemic, but two necessary items must first be satisfied. Most importantly, more research should be conducted to establish FCP-Flu efficacy against the current and other pandemic strains. Second, and also importantly, blood banks and donor centers should examine whether offering this new product would be feasible in a pandemic and begin planning before a more severe pandemic forces us to respond without adequate preparation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy