Plasma Therapy – Scientists around the world have been racing to develop antidotes for the deadly Coronavirus. They are still constantly researching and exploring medical treatments that can help fight the deadly novel coronavirus. As a matter of fact, the current theory for the solution to coronavirus is focused on Convalescent Plasma Therapy.
Let us discuss the incident that has made plasma therapy so popular.
On April 4, a 49-year-old man from Delhi was tested positive for the coronavirus and was admitted to Max hospital in Saket with moderate symptoms and a history of fever and respiratory issues. His condition worsened over the next few days and he developed pneumonia with type-1 respiratory failure. Gradually the patient had to be placed on ventilator support till 8 April. After this, when the patient showed no signs of recovery, then, at the request of the family members, the hospital administered a plasma therapy. The family arranged for the donor who recently recovered from the coronavirus. The donor had recovered from COVID-19 just 3 weeks ago and was also tested negative at the time of donation along with other tests like Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and HIV. The patient underwent the Plasma Therapy on 14 April and was put off ventilator support on 18 April. The patient has now been recovering well.
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It is being considered that Patients who have fully recovered from the coronavirus for at least 2 weeks are encouraged to donate plasma. This might just help save the lives of those patients who are critical. It seems like India has given a go-ahead for framing a protocol to conduct a clinical trial for convalescent Plasma Therapy and it might just work to save us all from this deadly coronavirus. But, there are no concrete proof that this works and the recovery has been completely due to plasma therapy.
What is the Convalescent plasma therapy?
So, now we know why the Plasma Therapy is being talked about so much. But, do we know what the Plasma Therapy is?
The Convalescent Plasma Therapy is a medical treatment that aims at using antibodies from the blood of a fully-recovered COVID-19 patient to treat those in critical situations because of exposure to the coronavirus. This therapy may also immune those at a higher risk due to health and age-related factors as also being in direct contact with the infected person, including healthcare workers, families of patients.
This theory is as simple as understanding that the antibodies from a person who has fully-recovered from the coronavirus will be ingested into patients that are ongoing treatments to fight the coronavirus. This process will target and fight the novel coronavirus in the second patient.
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The Convalescent Plasma Therapy is similar to passive immunization and is a preventive measure and not a treatment for the coronavirus.
How does Convalescent plasma therapy work?
The Convalescent Plasma Therapy uses antibodies developed within an infected person while the patient was infected with the coronavirus. These antibodies develop in a patient as part of the body’s natural immune response to foreign pathogens, in this case, the coronavirus. These antibodies work to eliminate the coronavirus. Once the patient is treated and recovered, they are asked to donate their blood so as to help other patients suffering from the coronavirus.
The blood, only if deemed fit, is then taken through a process to extract ‘plasma’. This plasma is then finally ingested into the body of the patient under treatment. Depending upon the amount of antibody and its compositions, the protection given by the transferred immunoglobulin lasts its presence in the patient from weeks to months.
This theory is indeed a ray of hope but researchers also cautioned that it is too early to think of the Plasma Therapy as an effective treatment for Coronavirus.