Coronavirus disease 2019 subphenotypes and differential treatment response to convalescent plasma in critically ill adults: secondary analyses of a randomized clinical trial.
Fish M., Rynne J., Jennings A., Lam C., Lamikanra AA., Ratcliff J., Cellone-Trevelin S., Timms E., Jiriha J., Tosi I., Pramanik R., Simmonds P., Seth S., Williams J., Gordon AC., Knight J., Smith DJ., Whalley J., Harrison D., Rowan K., Harvala H., Klenerman P., Estcourt L., Menon DK., Roberts D., Shankar-Hari M., REMAP-CAP Immunoglobulin Domain UK Investigators None.
PURPOSE: Benefit from convalescent plasma therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been inconsistent in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) involving critically ill patients. As COVID-19 patients are immunologically heterogeneous, we hypothesized that immunologically similar COVID-19 subphenotypes may differ in their treatment responses to convalescent plasma and explain inconsistent findings between RCTs . METHODS: We tested this hypothesis in a substudy involving 1239 patients, by measuring 26 biomarkers (cytokines, chemokines, endothelial biomarkers) within the randomized, embedded, multifactorial, adaptive platform trial for community-acquired pneumonia (REMAP-CAP) that assigned 2097 critically ill COVID-19 patients to either high-titer convalescent plasma or usual care. Primary outcome was organ support free days at 21 days (OSFD-21) . RESULTS: Unsupervised analyses identified three subphenotypes/endotypes. In contrast to the more homogeneous subphenotype-2 (N = 128 patients, 10.3%; with elevated type i and type ii effector immune responses) and subphenotype-3 (N = 241, 19.5%; with exaggerated inflammation), the subphenotype-1 had variable biomarker patterns (N = 870 patients, 70.2%). Subphenotypes-2, and -3 had worse outcomes, and subphenotype-1 had better outcomes with convalescent plasma therapy compared with usual care (median (IQR). OSFD-21 in convalescent plasma vs usual care was 0 (- 1, 21) vs 10 (- 1, to 21) in subphenotype-2; 1.5 (- 1, 21) vs 12 (- 1, to 21) in suphenotype-3, and 0 (- 1, 21) vs 0 (- 1, to 21) in subphenotype-1 (test for between-subphenotype differences in treatment effects p = 0.008). CONCLUSIONS: We reported three COVID-19 subphenotypes, among critically ill adults, with differential treatment effects to ABO-compatible convalescent plasma therapy. Differences in subphenotype prevalence between RCT populations probably explain inconsistent results with COVID-19 immunotherapies.