Plasma therapy is one of the few probable solutions which has shown promise in its early trials. Considerable buzz is already happening around how this may prove to be a breakthrough in COVID-19 treatment.
COVID-19: Can plasma therapy prove to be successful in curing COVID-19 patients? With no vaccine in sight for Covid-19 before the beginning of the next year, doctors and health scientists are trying to find alternative ways to treat the deadly Coronavirus. Plasma therapy is one of the few probable solutions which has shown promise in its early trials.
Considerable buzz is already happening around how this may prove to be a breakthrough in COVID-19 treatment. However, the health ministry officials in their daily news briefing said that plasma therapy is at the experimental stage and there is no conclusive proof that it could treat Covid-19. The country’s Public Information Bureau has also released a FAQ about plasma therapy. Based on the PIB FAQ, here’s a brief compilation of top facts related to plasma therapy for you to know.
What exactly is Plasma Therapy?
In Plasma therapy the immunity cells gained by the recovered patients are used to treat sick patients. Apart from India, countries like the United States, China and the United Kingdom have started the clinical trials of the treatment. Despite encouraging results, it would be difficult to vouch for Plasma therapy with surety unless its efficacy has been established on a large scale.
Do hospitals need permission to conduct plasma treatment?
Yes, hospitals and scientific organisations need to take the nod from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for conducting trials of Plasma therapy. The protocol to conduct safe trials has also been formulated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
What is the procedure of Plasma Therapy?
In the first stage, the blood of a patient who has recovered from the disease is collected. To test the presence of the antibodies, serum is separated and screening is conducted to find virus neutralising antibodies. Afterwards, convalescent serum, which is rich in antibodies for the pathogen, is administered to the sick patients. Through this process the immune cells of the recovered patients give passive immunity to the sick patients.
Can everybody be treated with Plasma Therapy?
No, plasma therapy is only administered to critically ill patients as the last resort. Prior consent is also taken from the patient or her family members before administering the patient with plasma therapy.
Has it been used in the past?
Yes, Plasma therapy was used to lessen the burden of critically ill patients during the H1N1 influenza virus pandemic during 2009-11. During the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in 2018 also, plasma therapy was used.
What are the challenges in Plasma therapy?
One of the most important challenges is to find a substantial amount of plasma among the recovered patients. Many of the victims in case of Covid-19 happen to be old and suffering from pre-existing ailments.