What is plasma therapy?

As the need for a COVID vaccine increases, most doctors have recommended an ancient method of fighting infectious diseases. This treatment used is called plasma therapy. It is a medical process in which recovered patients donate blood to establish antibodies that fight infection.

What is plasma?

Plasma is the part of the blood that is often forgotten. White blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets are important for the body's function. But plasma also plays a key role. This fluid transports blood products all over the body. Plasma is most of your blood. It makes up more than half (approximately 55%) of its total content. Plasma is a bright yellow substance that separates from the rest of the blood. Plasma carries water, salts, and enzymes. The main function of plasma is to carry nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the parts of the body that need them. Cells also deposit their waste products in plasma. The plasma then helps remove these wastes from the body. All portions of the blood are still carried into the circulatory system through blood plasma.

What are the functions of blood plasma?

  • The antibodies, once attached to the virus, neutralize it.
  • Antibodies activate the pathways and help prevent further damage to cells
  • Lowers overall viral load
  • Transfused plasma from at least two donors provides a variety of antibodies, providing greater protection for the immune system.

What is plasma therapy?

Plasma therapy is a medical procedure that uses the blood of a recovered patient to create antibodies in infected people. Medically known as convalescent plasma therapy, this treatment uses antibodies found in blood drawn from a recovered Covid-19 patient. It is then used to treat people with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection to aid recovery. When people get sick with Covid-19, their immune system makes antibodies to fight the disease. Those antibody proteins are suspended in the blood plasma, which is a liquid portion of blood. Doctors can collect the plasma, test for safety, and then purify it to isolate those antibodies. That "plasma-derived therapy" or "convalescent plasma" can be injected into another sick Covid-19 patient, and the antibodies it contains can help fight the virus in the early stages of infection until the patient's immune system patient generates his antibodies in sufficient quantities to defeat Covid-19.

Donating plasma

If you want to donate plasma to help others in need, you will go through a screening process. This is to ensure that the blood is clean and stable. If you qualify as a plasma donor, you will spend approximately one and a half hours in a clinic at each follow-up visit. During the blood donation process, blood is drawn through a needle that is placed into a vein in an arm. Plasma and platelets are separated from the blood sample using a special system. This process is called plasmapheresis. The remaining red blood cells and other blood components are returned to your body, along with some saline (salt). People with blood type AB have the highest demand for donating plasma. They are only 2 out of every 50 people, their plasma is universal. This means that anyone can use its plasma. At noncommercial donation sites, people can donate plasma every 28 days, up to 13 times a year.

How can you become a plasma donor?

A donor must wait until 14-28 days after full recovery before being approved to donate, the person must:

  • Have no fever
  • Have no breathing difficulties
  • Have normal oxygen levels, between 95 and 100 percent
  • Be in good general health
  • At the time of infection, an official and valid diagnostic test must be performed to confirm SARS-CoV
  • Undergo a standard procedure to rule out HIV, Hepatitis B and C viruses, and so on
  • Have two negative tests for SARS-CoV-2 within a 24-hour interval on nasal swabs

How does plasma therapy work?

  • A convalescent plasma therapy uses antibodies (a type of protein, produced by plasma) from patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19 infection. This is how this procedure will fight the coronavirus in your body.
  • Blood is drawn from a previously infected but fully recovered patient, the plasma component of that blood that contains the antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is separated. This plasma is injected into the body of an infected person who will fight the virus and neutralize it so that it does not spread.
  • Once the patient has recovered, they will be asked to donate their blood so that their antibodies are used to treat other infected patients.
  • The blood sample will be tested for any existing harmful diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, including HIV.

How to prepare for treatment?

First, a doctor will recommend a convalescent plasma treatment that is suitable for your blood type. Here's how to get ready for recovery and what to expect afterward.

Before treatment

Your healthcare professional will assess your health before undergoing treatment. This procedure involves a healthcare provider who will insert an intravenous / IV tube into a vein in your arms.

During treatment

Plasma recovered from a recovered infected person will be connected to the IV tubing and given to you by drip. It takes 2 hours to complete the procedure.

After treatment

Your healthcare specialist will supervise you and will have frequent visits to the hospital for further evaluation by the doctor. A healthcare specialist will determine whether you need further hospitalization based on your overall well being.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is plasma in the human body?

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood. About 55% of our blood is plasma and the remaining 45% are red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets that are suspended in plasma

2. What is the function of plasma?

The main function of plasma is to transport blood cells throughout the body along with nutrients, waste products, antibodies, clotting proteins, chemical messengers such as hormones, and proteins that help maintain the body's fluid balance.

3. What is the difference between plasma and blood?

Plasma is the liquid component of blood, while blood is the body's liquid connective tissue that makes up 55% of plasma and 45% of blood cells.

4. Is plasma the same as platelets?

Since platelets must be used within 5 days of donation, there is a constant need for platelet donors. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood; our red and white blood cells and platelets are suspended in plasma as they move through our body.

5. Can COVID-19 be transmitted through water?

The COVID-19 virus is not transmitted through the water while swimming. However, the virus is spread between people when someone has close contact with an infected person.

6. Who is most at risk for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is usually more serious in people age 60 and older or with health conditions such as lung or heart disease, diabetes, or conditions that affect their immune system.

7. Should children with underlying health problems wear a mask during COVID-19?

Children with underlying health problems, such as cystic fibrosis or cancer, should wear a medical mask in consultation with their medical providers. A medical mask protects the person wearing the mask and prevents transmission from others.