Convalescent plasma therapy is a procedure, wherein the blood of a person who has recovered from the infection is extracted and injected into a patient suffering from the disease. The plasma contains antibodies that can help the patient fight the deadly pathogens infiltrating their immune system, which in turn speeds up their recovery process and/or eases their symptoms.
Similarly, plasma therapy can be used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The blood of the COVID recovered patient has antibodies to the virus that causes it. Once it is injected into a severe coronavirus patient, it enables the body to fight against the pathogens. While there is no confirmation on whether plasma therapy really cures a COVID patient, studies have shown that it helps people recover from COVID-19 and shortens the patient's hospitalization period.
Given the rise in the number of cases, the Center approved plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients. People who have recovered from coronavirus can donate their plasma only after 28-30 days of recovery. They must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and should weigh 50 kilos and above. Preferably, people who have experienced symptoms (like fever, cold, cough, etc.) should donate plasma, as they might have a greater probability of possessing anti-SARS-Cov-2 IgG antibodies as compared to an asymptomatic patient.
While plasma therapy has proved effective in certain cases amidst the COVID surge - hence the growing demand - however, more research is needed in determining whether or not it can really curb the mortality rate or not.
Previously, medical professionals have termed plasma therapy as 'outdated' and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had also claimed that plasma therapy does not reduce the number of deaths associated with COVID-19.
While there have been no known risks associated with plasma therapy, it is crucial that the procedure is conducted in the presence of a medical professional.
That said, there may be some risks involved, which could be avoided with proper evaluation of both the receiver and the one donating the plasma.
In case you're planning to be a part of our Plasma Donation Drive and donate plasma, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The Centre has provided a list of do's and don'ts which are as follows:
Do not forget to carry a hard copy of your COVID positive report (RT PCR test) within 4 months of the day of donation and your Aadhar Card (front and back)
In case you were asymptomatic, donate only after 14 days of a COVID positive result. If you had symptoms, then you can donate after 14 days of symptom resolution.
Women who have ever been pregnant cannot donate COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
A person who has received COVID-19 vaccination will not be able to donate plasma for 28 days from the date of vaccination.
A person can not donate if he/she gets rejected for the lack of adequate antibodies in the blood.
Please contact hospital authorities for any other information in advance, on phone.