What is plasma therapy and can it treat COVID-19?
The deadly coronavirus has infected more than 2 million people worldwide. Though doctors and governments are trying hard, there is still no cure for the disease. Scientists are experimenting with various vaccines, drugs and other treatment methods to fight COVID 19. One such treatment is plasma therapy. Reportedly, a 49-year-old male is the first person to receive plasma therapy in Max Hospital, Saket. The treatment worked for him and now he is out of danger, reported the hospital.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has allowed states to start the clinical trials of plasma therapy. States like Kerala, Gujarat and Punjab have already initiated the plasma therapy for patients suffering from COVID 19. 100 other institutes have shown interest to study how safe and efficient is plasma therapy in treating the novel coronavirus.
What is plasma therapy?
Convalescent Plasma Therapy is an experimental procedure to treat COVID 19 infection. In this treatment method, plasma from a COVID patient who has fully recovered is transfused into a coronavirus patient with critical condition.
How does plasma therapy work?
Plasma therapy treats patients by transferring the immunity from a healthy person to a sick person. The therapy uses antibodies from the blood of the recovered coronavirus patient to treat another critical patient. This helps the infected person to develop antibodies needed against the COVID 19 virus. The antibodies when transferred start fighting against conronavirus.
How plasma is donated?
Donating plasma is similar to donating blood and takes the same amount of time. Plasma donors are hooked upto a small device, which removes plasma and returns the red blood cells to their bodies simultaneously. Plasma can be donated more frequently as compared to blood. It can be donated two-three times a week.
Plasma from one person can be used in recovering two infected persons. Right now, ICMR does not recommend using plasma therapy as a treatment option but only for the purpose of clinical trials. Several other countries have also started plasma therapy trials including United Kingdom and United States.