Covid survivor Ravikanth Reddy shares his experience while he tried his best to donate plasma. During his visits to blood banks, interaction with donors and checking the process, he came to know about the following things:
1. Positive report is a must for all donors – “I saw one donor who was positive, recovered from COVID-19 and came forward to donate plasma. However, his positive report was not available, hence he was rejected. I observed that and then used the AP Government portal to retrieve his result and then he proceeded with the donation. So as happened to him before, many might be getting rejected because they don’t have a documented evidence of being positive,” said Ravikanth.
2. Discharge report: The blood banks are also verifying the discharge report. For those who are getting recovered with home isolation, that again may not be a possibility. So, what is the process for them, that is again a question mark.
3. Test negative after recovery – while most of the online articles and guidelines say that the recovered person should also have got negative after recovery, it may not be possible because of various reasons. As per the discharge policy of AP, people are being discharged without any test – so there is no scope for negative test report unless the donor goes for it voluntarily. Same is the case with people who are recovering at home.
4. Rapid Antigen Kits – many in the last month have been tested with Rapid Antigen Kits. Whether the people who got positive using those kits are given a report is a concern. Because if neither report generation or data uploading is not happening then there is no scope for any positive report for all those people. Also, even if a report is generated, will the blood banks accept that report, as they ought to accept only RT-PCT reports.
So, keeping these in view, I believe a lot many changes are to be made to enable smooth plasma donation process.
Donors as well as recipients should also be aware that there are multiple phases where one can get rejected, these include:
1. Timeline – whether it has been good number of days since the person recovered. Even if the person has recovered long back, like 90 days back, such people are also rejected because the antibody levels will be pretty low.
2. Documentation – positive report and discharge report
3. History – if any operation, drinking, alcohol consumption, usage of antibiotics or other medicines etc.
4. Veins – one has to have healthy veins, if veins are a little weak, people are rejected.
5. Hb levels – blood haemoglobin levels if low, they are rejected.
6. Antibody levels – if the antibody levels are below what is recommended by ICMR, they get rejected.
7. Matching with recipient – the plasma of donor and recipient are also matched, and if not matching, then also people will be rejected.
“So just because we have recovered does not make us eligible for donation, similarly just because we found a donor does not mean that plasma donation will happen for sure,” concluded Ravikanth.
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