Experts from US and UK are considering using plasma treatment for COVID-19 positive patients.
With more than 4 million cases and nearly 0.3 million deaths, no successful treatment is still found to counter the COVID-19. A vaccine is at least 12-18 months away and that be only if the virus doesn’t mutate, which probably it is.
UK has started taking blood plasma from those patients who have recovered, for trial. 14 units of convalescent plasma have been provided to three National Health Service trusts and transfusions are carried out. US has also started the project involving more than 1,500 hospitals.
The aim of the trials is to determine whether the plasma treatment can cure the COVID-19 patients. The mechanism works as the plasma has strong antibodies which are produced in the already effected patient enabling one’s immune system to battle the disease. The plasma then helps the immune system of the newly effected patient to develop against the virus.
Dr. Abi Lal, 43 was a part of the trials after he had been tested positive and was nearly recovered. According to him, “”Donating my plasma was a fantastic experience.” He considered helping others out so that nobody else has to go through the same as he did.
The plasma may be also be used to create hyperimmune globulin – a concentrated antibody serum. This strategy has previously been used for treatment of rabies and illnesses such as infant botulism.
Although a number of hospitals in various states are attempting trials, the number of recovered patients is not good enough to conduct and in case of positive results, may not be enough to treat very quick.
In Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic has collected plasma from 12,000 recovered patients which may be used for transfusion into more than 7,000 people gravely ill with COVID-19. This number is one of the maximum collections done which shows not enough samples are available.
However, according to estimates, 10,000 women can donate up to four times each, summing up to 30,000 liters. This may be helpful in generating hyperimmune globulin.
At the initial stage, when recommendations and permissions from the authorities are not enough to use the treatment, experts aim to use the treatment for patients whose condition is serious with no other option.
Prof Michael Joyner, from the Mayo Clinic commented, “”There’s a lot we don’t understand about the plasma. We’re going to learn more about what’s in the plasma, the components, the antibody levels, and other factors that may be there as the weeks go on. But sometimes, as a physician, you just have to try to take a shot on goal when you have a shot.””