With most of the coronavirus treatment and vaccination work being at a research stage, scientists and experts around the world are analysing different treatment methods that can be used to relieve COVID-19 patients. One such treatment that has been in use for a very long time is plasma therapy, also known as convalescent plasma therapy. This includes a treatment method that uses the infusion of blood plasma and immune molecules that might help survivors beat the infection. The therapy is being assessed as a potential treatment method to help seriously-ill coronavirus patients. The process includes injecting blood plasma of the people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies to fight off the virus.
Most countries are experimenting with plasma therapy to see if it can work against COVID-19. While India has finally started its trail for plasma therapy, the US, China, Spain, Turkey, South Korea, Italy, the United Kingdom, are some other countries that are analysing the use of plasma therapy in the fight against coronavirus. Let’s discuss Convalescent Plasma Therapy in detail.
What Is Convalescent Plasma Therapy?
Convalescent plasma therapy involves a treatment procedure that includes the use of antibodies from the blood of humans who have recovered from COVID-19. This is being aimed at critically infected coronavirus patients. If successful, the therapy can help immunise people who are at a high risk of contracting coronavirus. The therapy involves using the blood of people completely recovered from COVID-19 that contains antibodies having the ability to fight coronavirus. In the past, the therapy has been successful in recovering from various infectious diseases.
History Of Plasma Therapy
The plasma therapy had turned out to be a great tool in the fight against the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the Ebola epidemic and SARS. For health issues like measles and bacterial pneumonia, plasma therapy has been successfully used as a treatment method. Currently, the hopes are high for its use against COVID-19.
How Will Convalescent Plasma Therapy Be Used Against Coronavirus?
The Convalescent Plasma Therapy includes steps wherein first blood of people who have been recovered from an infectious disease is retrieved. After that, a convalescent serum is separated and screened if it contains virus-neutralising antibodies.
The serum that contains antibodies that are prepared by a body in defence when attacked by a pathogen will be used as a potential treatment against COVID-19. These antibodies released by our immune systems are recovered from patients and can be used to treat other infected people
What is Convalescent Serum?
The convalescent serum is retrieved from the people who have recovered from any infectious disease. This antibodies-rich serum can be used for further treatment. The body starts making proteins called antibodies that act against the bacteria and it can be used to fight the disease.
Can Plasma therapy Be a Succesful Treatment Method Against Coronavirus?
There’s no evidence that says plasma therapy will work against COVID-19. However, since it has worked for similar infectious diseases in the past countries like India and the US are working towards it to see if it can stop the coronavirus spread. However, it is important to remember that Convalescent plasma is at its experimental stage for treating COVID-19 patients.
Can You Donate Plasma?
Not everyone can donate plasma, only the people who have been earlier tested positive for coronavirus and then fully recovered from COVID-19 can donate plasma for plasma therapy. They must have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus and only a healthcare expert can decide that. If you are eligible to donate, the process will just be like donating blood and is done using a small device that removes plasma while simultaneously returning red blood cells to their bodies.
Yesterday, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria informed that the use of convalescent plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 patient has started at various centres in the country. He said, “At various centres, we have now started using convalescent plasma that is the blood of COVID-19 patients who have recovered. A large number of patients who have become alright, have come forward and have volunteered to donate their blood.”
Currently, after Kerala, The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has allowed Maharashtra to administer plasma therapy to COVID-19 patients in Mumbai on an experimental basis, according to Health Minister Rajesh Tope. Kerala, however, remains the first state in India to have been given the nod to try out Plasma therapy. As we write this, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India are 23,077. The number of people recovered is 4,749 and 718 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19.