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What is Plasma?

Plasma is one of the major components of blood.

It is the straw-coloured liquid portion of blood in which all the blood cells are suspended.

  • Plasma makes up approximately 55 per cent of a human’s total blood volume.
  • Plasma itself is largely composed of water (92 per cent), plasma proteins (7 per cent) and solutes (1 per cent) such as electrolytes, organic nutrients and waste.
  • The protein-rich fraction of plasma is used to manufacture life-saving and life-changing therapies.
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Plasma Donor Eligibility

Eligibility of COVID-19 patients to donate whole blood or plasma should be based on

Check-Your-Eligibility
  • Confirmation of the previous infection with COVID-19 by a record of validated diagnostic tests at the time of illness.
  • An interval of 14 days after full recovery.
  • Standard selection criteria depending upon local requirements and standards (Age, Weight and vital signs).
  • Non-reactivity of blood samples.
  • To avoid the risk of transfusion related acute lung injury preference should be given to use of plasma from male donors or from female donors who never been pregnant including abortions.

Plasma FAQ’s

WHAT IS CONVALESCENT PLASMA THERAPY?

The convalescent plasma therapy aims at using antibodies from the blood of a recovered Covid-19 patient to treat those critically affected by the virus. The therapy can also be used to immunise those at a high risk of contracting the virus — such as health workers, families of patients and other high-risk contacts.

This therapy’s concept is simple and is based on the premise that the blood of a patient who has recovered from Covid-19 contains antibodies with the specific ability to fight novel coronavirus. The recovered patient’s antibodies once injected into covid positive patients under treatment, will begin targeting and fighting the novel coronavirus.

The convalescent plasma therapy is akin to passive immunisation as, according to researchers, it is a preventive measure and not a treatment for the Covid-19 disease.

  • Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patient who have recovered from an infection
  • Antibodies present in convalescent plasma are proteins that might help fight the infection

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WHY IS CONVALESCENT PLASMA BEING INVESTIGATED TO TREAT COVID-19?

  • Convalescent plasma is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease and there is some information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19.
  • Convalescent plasma is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease and there is some information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19.
  • FDA does not provide convalescent plasma to hospitals.

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I RECENTLY RECOVERED FROM COVID-19, CAN I DONATE CONVALESCENT PLASMA?

  • COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood.
  • Individuals must have a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other laboratory criteria.
  • Individuals must have fully recovered from COVID-19, with complete resoultion of symptoms for at least 14 days before donation of convalescent plasma.

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IS PLASMA DONATION SAFE?

  • The answer is YES! Plasma Donation is similar to any regular blood donation. Plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients is used to produce anibodies to help treat other patients.
  • Only a component of the blood is extracted and the rest is reciuculated into the donor’s body.
  • Plasma regeneration varies in individuals. On average it takes only about 48 hours for plasma to fully rengerate after donation.
  • Hospitals are now ensuring proper safety for the donors. Seperate wards have been made for donors.
  • There are no side effects or weaknesss after procedure. The donor can simply go back home.

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CAN I BE A PLASMA DONOR?

Before you go ahead with the donation, there are a few things to be kept in mind

  • You should have tested positive for covid-19
  • You should have recovered from all symptoms of covid-19 (fever, cough and breathing problems)
  • Women must not have conceived a child
  • You should not have diabetes
  • You should not have high blood pressure
  • You must not be over the age of 65 years

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WILL PLASMA DONATION EFFECT ME IN ANYWAY?

No, Plasma donation wont harm you! But you will be proud after helping another human in need

  • The loss can be made up by a donor’s body in an hour.
  • There is no side effect or weakness after the procedure.
  • You can go home immediately.

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HOW CONVALESCENT PLASMA THERAPY WORKS?

The convalescent plasma therapy uses antibodies developed within an infected person while he/she is infected with the novel coronavirus. These antibodies are developed in a patient as part of the body’s natural immune system response to a foreign pathogen or in this case, the novel coronavirus. These antibodies are highly specific to the invading pathogen and so, work to eliminate the novel coronavirus from the patient’s body.

Once the patient has recovered, they donate their blood so that their antibodies can be used to treat other patients. The donated blood is then checked for the presence of any other disease-causing agents such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV etc.

If deemed safe, the blood is then taken through a process to extract ‘plasma’, the liquid part of the blood that contains antibodies. The antibody-rich plasma, once extracted, is then injected into the body of a patient under treatment.

A sufficient amount of antibody must be administered. When given to a susceptible person, this antibody will circulate in the blood, reach tissues, and provide protection against infection. Depending on the antibody amount and composition, the protection conferred by the transferred immunoglobulin [antibodies] can last from weeks to months.

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HISTORY OF PLASMA THERAPY

This is not the first time convalescent plasma therapy is being considered as a treatment for viral infections.

  • In 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recommended the use of convalescent plasma therapy to treat patients with the antibody-rich plasma of those who had recovered from the Ebola virus disease.
  • For the treatment of people infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which is also caused by a coronavirus, a protocol for use of convalescent plasma was established in 2015.
  • During the 1918 H1N1 influenza virus (Spanish flu) pandemic, the therapy was used experimentally.
  • The plasma therapy was used as a treatment during the H1N1 infection in 2009. Other serious outbreaks that have seen the use of this therapy are the SARS outbreak, Measles, HIV, Polio and Mumps.

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PAST RESEARCH

  • During the SARS outbreak in 2002, numerous studies came to a conclusion that using convalescent plasma therapy results in earlier recovery of patients when compared to regular drugs. Under one trial conducted by Hong Kong University scientists during the SARS outbreak, 80 people were administered convalescent plasma. It was found that “people treated with it [the therapy] showing symptoms had a higher chance of being discharged from hospital than did those who weren’t treated ” within two weeks..
  • In 2009, during the H1N1 outbreak, a study conducted to analyse the impact of the plasma therapy found that it helped reduce respiratory troubles and lowered the risk of mortality. The study also concluded that patients treated with the therapy were discharged within 22 days of treatment. Ninety-three patients requiring intensive care were part of this study. Out of them 20 patients were administered the plasma therapy. This treatment group of 20 people showed significant lower mortality than in the non-treatment group, the study said.
  • At the time of the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) had prioritised the evaluation of the convalescent plasma therapy. A study conducted in Guinea with 84 Ebola-infected patients revealed that “the transfusion of up to 500 ml of convalescent plasma with unknown levels of neutralizing antibodies was not associated with a significant improvement in survival”. Essentially, that convalescent plasma therapy did not turn out to be of much help in the case of Ebola virus.

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AMOUNT OF PLASMA IN BLOOD

A quantity of 600 ml blood subject to centrifuge, will get about 40-45% (= 40-45% hematocrit) as red blood cells (bottom layer), and rest 60-55% (upper layer) as plasma. A small intermediate phase is called a buffy coat that contains platelets and white blood cells. As the G force or the time of centrifugation increases, there will be fewer platelets and WBC in the plasma phase. So, for 600 ml of whole blood, you can expect to get 600 x 55-60% = 330-360 ml of plasma.

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ANTIBODIES IN PLASMA

An antibody test will be done on the donor to check whether sufficient antibodies are formed in his/her body to fight against the virus. if the person fails in the test he/she shall not be considered fit to donate. if he/she passes the test then they are sent to plasma extraction. The IGg value for the antibody test should be not less than 1:160.

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