Plasma Therapy for COVID-19- A Ray of Hope

Plasma Therapy
 Plasma treatment 

Plasma Therapy for COVID-19 

The value of historical convalescent plasma transfusions has been reevaluated in light of the current pandemic caused by the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The CPT is one of the promising treatments available in the midst of the pandemic.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, plasma therapy and its advantages and disadvantages have received a lot of attention. The effectiveness of plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 patients turned out to be very beneficial in early 2020 when there was no coronavirus vaccine and medical professionals were looking for a cure. Even though plasma therapy is now frequently used to treat COVID-19, many people are still ignorant of how it works. Here is more information on plasma therapy's use in COVID-19 and its advantages to clear up any misunderstandings or complications.

What is Plasma?

Red blood cells, platelets, white blood cells, and other forms of cellular constituents are just a few of the components that make up blood. These constituents are suspended in a liquid called plasma. The aforementioned elements are easily separated to yield the plasma, also known as serum, which is a clear liquid with a straw-colored tint. Plasma is the prime component of human blood, making up 55% of the blood. Water, enzymes, salts, antibodies, and other proteins are present in the fluid.

What is Convalescent Plasma Therapy?

The immune system of the body creates a response to fend off an attack from a pathogen that causes disease. Human blood produces proteins called antibodies, which are crucial in the fight against the disease. It is interesting to note that such antibodies can be removed from one person's blood and injected into the blood of another. Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) is based on this idea.

A person who is convalescing is said to be recovering from an infection, in this case, one brought on via a bacteria or a virus. In comparison to someone who is not infected with those viruses or bacteria, such an individual would have a high level of antibodies in his or her blood. Therefore, the chances of recovery are significantly improved when some plasma and these antibodies are extracted from the blood of a convalescent and given to a person who has been severely infected by the virus. This is CST or CPT. 

How it Works in a COVID-19 Patient?

Convalescent serum transfusion, also known as "plasma therapy," is one procedure that has been the talk of the town. During the 2014 Ebola outbreaks, the SARS, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, this therapeutic approach was previously employed as a last-ditch effort. 

Fever, a dry cough, a sore throat, fatigue, headaches, aches and pains, and a loss of taste and smell are among the most typical coronavirus symptoms. In the majority of nations, there are two different COVID-19 tests available. 

A viral test, for instance, can determine whether an infection is active in the body during the test. The antibody test, which also determines whether a person has previously had the infection, is the other test. 

Numerous thousands of people have died as a result of the novel coronavirus's escalating global pandemic. Such patients are placed on ventilators because there were currently no approved COVID-19 treatments for critical patients. COVID-19 treatments are also chosen based on unique circumstances and the patient's health.

Plasma therapy involves injecting a patient who is currently infected with the coronavirus with blood plasma from a recovered coronavirus patient. Antibodies produced via the immune system for combating the virus are present in the plasma of recovered persons. 

Passive immunization causes the body to fight the virus more effectively when the sick person's body is given the plasma containing antibodies. Quicker recovery results from this. The deadly COVID-19 virus is being hailed as a prospective cure by plasma therapy.

plasma therapy
What is convalescent plasma therapy?

Plasma Therapy Procedure 

Blood is drawn from COVID-19 patients who have recovered during the plasma therapy procedure. Blood is parted from the plasma containing the antibodies. The donor's body is then supplied with the blood again. The most helpful donors for this therapy will be those who have high plasma anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody concentrations. Patients who are currently ill receive the plasma of a recovered patient. As antibodies are now present in the body, this aids the patient in battling the infection. Also produced are fresh antibodies.

What Happens Prior to the Plasma Therapy Procedure?

The CP donor will undergo a thorough screening procedure before donating to ensure that they are qualified to do so. Both general screening tests and convalescent plasma donation-specific screening tests are available for all types of plasma donations.

Depending on the pathogen or virus the plasma is utilized for, different convalescent plasma screening procedures will need to be used. To donate convalescent plasma, you typically need to be recovered fully from the illness as well as have antibodies of a high level in your plasma.

You cannot donate blood plasma if you have any of the following conditions:

Illness: You cannot donate plasma if you have a fever, feel generally under the weather, or are taking antibiotics for treating an infection.

Specific medical conditions: When screening plasma and blood donors, the American Red Cross takes into account 23 different medical conditions. Hepatitis and HIV are examples of conditions that automatically disqualify a person from donating, whereas other conditions necessitate special circumstances.

Specific medications and medical procedures: You may not be eligible to donate plasma if you have received certain medical treatments, like blood transfusions and surgeries.

Travel to particular nations or regions: If you have recently traveled to a particular region of the world, then you are likely to be more susceptible to contracting certain diseases that disqualify you, like Ebola.

Recent body piercing or tattoo: If you have recently had either of these procedures, typically within the last 12 months, you cannot donate plasma.

Your healthcare provider will determine whether you are qualified to receive convalescent plasma by reviewing your blood type, medical history, and general state of health.


Who is Eligible to Donate Plasma?


The following are eligibility requirements for plasma donors for COVID 19:

  • The donor's age must be between 18 and 60;
  • The weight must be over 50 kg;
  • The pulse rate should be consistent and between 50 and 100;
  • The body temperature & blood pressure must be normal;
  • He/she should not have any chronic or infectious diseases;
  • He/she should not have had a tattoo or piercing within the previous six months; and
  • He/she should have a hemoglobin level of at least 12.5 g/dL.

Bottom Line 

In short, plasma therapy in COVID-19 is indeed showing great promise. It has good potential in becoming the COVID-19 treatment that the world is waiting for.

Related: How to Jump-Start your Immune System with IV Therapy

Author: Hemant Kolhe is currently working as a Team Lead in a Market Research Future consultancy firm. An Electronics & Tell-comm engineer by education, I have prior experience in technology firms and market research.

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