KARACHI - Clinical trials of anti-COVID-19 intravenous immunoglobulin (C-IVIG) developed by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) showed promising results.

C-IVIG has shown 100% recovery rate in severe patients, and more than 60% recovery rate in critical patients admitted in ICU or on ventilators, with more than 50% of the recovered patients being discharged from hospital within 5 days.

DUHS conducted preclinical trials of C-IVIG in early April, after which Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan approved the clinical trial on fast-track, said the statement released on Saturday.

The production of C-IVIG and its clinical trial is sponsored by DUHS with support of HEC, while the efforts put forward by DRAP are also commendable since the approved trials have been successful in saving numerous human lives.

Dr Shaukat Ali and his team under the supervision of Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr Saeed Quraishy started the project of C-IVIG production.  Dr Shaukat Ali told that this C-IVIG was prepared by chemically purifying plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients, which was why the recovered patients were requested to donate their plasma. 

Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority has already permitted DUHS to collect convalescent plasma; however, due to decrease in convalescent plasma donations and a climb in COVID-19 cases, the required amount of C-IVIG cannot be prepared.  Dr Shaukat Ali also explained that the patients infused with C-IVIG were 60 years on average, and most suffered with diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases. The success of C-IVIG in these high risk patients is very encouraging, and leaves no doubt in the affectivity of this treatment. 

The C-IVIG clinical trial started in June, and has gained speed due to recent rise in COVID-19 patients; however, larger quantity of convalescent plasma is required to prepare this drug in larger quantity and cater more patients nationwide. 

Dr Shaukat Ali explained that COVID-19 was usually life-threatening due to three reasons: firstly the virus attacks and damages the lungs of the patient; secondly the immune system of patients is overwhelmed by an uncontrollable cytokine storm induced by the virus; and thirdly the secondary bacterial infections cause sepsis in critical patients. C-IVIG when infused in COVID-19 patients, neutralises virus, stabilises immune system, while the antibodies in C-IVIG stop secondary bacterial infection. 

The team behind C-IVIG led by Dr Shaukat Ali and supervised by Dr Saeed Quraishy, includes Syed Muneeb Uddin, Mir Rashid Ali, Fatima Anjum, Dr Sheikh Muhammad Muhaymin, Dr Farah, Ayesha Ali, Mujtaba Khan, Elisha Shalim, Tehreem Mushtaq, Faisal Shahab, Abdul Samad Khan and Iqra Ahmed. The clinical team includes Dr Shobha Luxmi of Dow University Hospital and Dr Muneeba Sayeed of Sindh Infectious Disease Hospital.