Difference Between Convalescent Plasma Therapy and Monoclonal Antibodies

The term "convalescent plasma therapy" refers to the practise of using a healthy donor's blood plasma to treat a sick individual with the same illness. Created in the lab, monoclonal antibodies target particular pathogens and are used as a treatment option.

What is Convalescent Plasma Therapy?

In the medical practise known as convalescent plasma therapy, the plasma from a patient who has previously been infected with but has since recovered from the same disease is used to treat another patient with the same disease.

The patient must be well enough to undergo plasma extraction and usage once they have fully recovered from their illness. The immune system responds to a pathogen infection by activating several cells, including T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. Antibodies produced by B lymphocytes bind to pathogen antigens, identifying them as targets for clearance.

After a patient has overcome an illness, like Covid-19, their plasma can be separated and purified through a procedure called plasmapheresis. Here, a little amount of blood is drawn and processed further. The remainder of the blood is given back to the donor, while only the fluid plasma is used for transfusion into a sick person.

Primarily used for viral diseases with few other therapeutic choices, convalescent therapy is gaining popularity.

  • Advantages − At least in the case of Covid-19 patients, convalescent plasma treatment appears to lessen the severity and mortality risk, especially in those treated early on. Using convalescent plasma may also help people recover from the infection more quickly.

  • Disadvantages − The risks of convalescent plasma treatment are minimal but do exist on occasion. A few patients have experienced adverse reactions and lung damage after receiving this type of treatment.

  • Examples − Plasma from previously infected but now healthy individuals has been utilised to treat the most seriously sick Covid-19 patients. Patients with Ebola and H1N1 flu have also benefited from this medication.

What are Monoclonal Antibodies?

Artificially produced monoclonal antibodies are proteins that function similarly to the body's natural antibodies against a certain infection.

Formation of Monoclonal Antibodies

Antibodies are manufactured utilizing hybridoma technique. Injecting a mouse with a potentially dangerous antigen causes the animal to mount an immunological response. After a mouse has been exposed to a foreign antigen, its spleen will develop polyclonal antibodies that may be harvested and fused with myeloma cells. After the hybrid cells have been produced, they will be tested for the specific antibody. To facilitate the synthesis of large amounts of monoclonal antibody, cells harbouring the antibody are routinely manufactured in huge quantities.

Uses of Monoclonal Antibodies

The goal of using monoclonal antibodies is to boost the body's natural defenses against disease. Some forms of cancer have been successfully treated with them. Also, its potential application in treating persons with Covid-19 is being explored. Possible monoclonal antibodies have been isolated from persons with the disease by scientists. Important Covid antibodies are those that recognize and neutralize the viral spike protein, which mediates the virus's entry into host cells.

It is possible to create a monoclonal antibody that will bind to the antigen of a particular virus. Since these antibodies are created in a lab, another major benefit is that they can be manufactured in large quantities. They have been designed to treat other viral infections, such Ebola, and can thus be utilised to treat cancer patients as well as the Covid-19 virus infection.

  • Disadvantages − Constructing monoclonal antibodies is a lengthy and costly process. Antibody production stops and cultures are thrown away if they get contaminated, as is the case with all molecular and cell culture procedures. There will be more waste of resources, both time and money, as a result of this.

  • Examples − Monoclonal antibodies have been proven to be effective in the treatment of Ebola if administered early in the course of the disease, according to researchers. As of late, bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody treatment, has been approved by the FDA for use in patients with Covid-19.

Differences: Convalescent Plasma Therapy and Monoclonal Antibodies

The following table highlights the major differences between Convalescent Plasma Therapy and Monoclonal Antibodies −


Convalescent Plasma Therapy

Monoclonal Antibodies


In convalescent plasma treatment, plasma is harvested from one patient and used to treat another with the same disease.

In order to help a sick individual, scientists create monoclonal antibodies in the lab.


After being processed using plasmapheresis, plasma is subsequently sent to a patient in need.

In order to create a monoclonal antibody, researchers inject antigens into a mouse and then purify the antibody-producing cells from the rodent's immune system.

Palliative care

The immune system's reactions during recovery create variation in the plasma patients receive.

Because they are artificially produced through cloning and laboratory synthesis, monoclonal antibodies are uniform.


Convalescent plasma treatment has the dual benefits of being effective against a wide variety of viruses and being very low-cost. However, convalescent plasma treatment is not without its risks, including allergic responses and respiratory issues.

Monoclonal antibodies have the potential to be employed in the treatment of cancer, and they can be manufactured in large quantities. However, producing a monoclonal antibody is a time-consuming and costly process.

Updated on: 26-Apr-2023


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