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Can Convalescent Plasma Therapy Be Answer To COVID-19?

The convalescent plasma therapy is an experimental way of transfusing antibodies from a recovered patient to the person who is still suffering from the ailment

Can Convalescent Plasma Therapy Be Answer To COVID-19?
Highlights
  • In Delhi, plasma therapy has shown positive results in a COVID-19 patient
  • Plasma therapy has been for the treatment of H1N1, Ebola and other diseases
  • Countries like Japan, US, Italy, China had success in plasma therapy

New Delhi: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the world, the age-old convalescent plasma therapy has shown promising results in some critical cases, though the therapy comes with its own set of risks and complications. The convalescent plasma therapy is an experimental way of transfusing antibodies from a recovered patient to the person who is still suffering from the ailment. Dr Manoj Kumar, Director, Department of Cardiology at Max Super Speciality Hospital New Delhi said that this therapy has been used earlier to treat SARS and Ebola virus patients, but there are certain constraints to it as well.

Also Read: What Is Herd Immunity And Can It Control The Coronavirus Pandemic?

This is a hundred-year-old treatment used for different diseases including SARS and Ebola virus. The only thing is that these are blood products so there is a chance of transmission of other diseases with the plasma. It has been seen that three patients, who were on the ventilator were able to quickly get off the ventilator, and did not require ventilator support further after the plasma therapy. So this is an effective way of treating COVID-19 at this moment, Dr Kumar told ANI.

Speaking to ANI, former President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr KK Aggarwal said, “Convalescent plasma therapy is not new, we have been using this for long. Whenever there is a new disease, one of the solutions is plasma therapy. In 2009 it has been used for the treatment of H1N1, Ebola and for many other diseases.”

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The amount of risk is the same, because in a protein it can cause an allergic reaction and because it is a blood component, we need to test all the blood components, we need to be sure that the corona antigen is negative, we need to be sure that corona antibodies are found in an adequate quantity. We still do not know many answers about the probable reactivation of the virus, Dr Aggarwal said.

“Therefore, we are not recommending it in asymptomatic individuals who can recover on their own. The ICMR is only recommending it for serious patients who are not responding to conventional therapies,” he added.

Also Read: COVID-19 Outbreak: Why Are Asymptomatic Patients, A Worry For India? Doctors Explain 

Speaking about the use of this therapy in other countries, Dr Aggarwal said,

In the US it has become like a routine. The American Red Cross Society has taken the step of collecting plasma from all over the country and making it available to the patients in need. The Indian Red Cross society should also do the same.

There are success stories of the therapy from countries like Japan, US, Italy, China, and similarly, from India too. Positive reports have come in from Kerala and Delhi. However, currently, the ICMR is not recommending it to asymptomatic people, and it is only recommended on case to case basis, according to Dr Aggarwal.

Also Read: India’s First Coronavirus Free State Goa Refuses To Be Declared ‘Green Zone’, Focusses On Intensifying Testing

Dr Ommen John, public health researcher at the George Institute for Global Health India, said that the accuracy of the treatment is yet to be verified.

“We can call it a ray of hope but we cannot say this is a solution for COVID-19,” said Dr Ommen John, while speaking to ANI.

I think for people who are very sick, plasma therapy is useful. Again this is a very recent disease, therefore it is being tried in different places. In Italy and other countries which have used it, they have been able to pull out a lot of people from critical situations. The evidence is still emerging, he added.

With 1,329 new cases and 44 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, India’s count of positive coronavirus cases reached 18,985 on Tuesday evening, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Also Read: Delhi’s COVID-19 Patient Recovers Well Post Plasma Therapy, Weaned Off Ventilator Support

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