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What is Plasma?
The plasma contains antibodies that can help a patient fight the pathogen and recover from the COVID-19 disease. Plasma therapy is predominantly known as 'convalescent plasma therapy' is a process to treat a coronavirus patient. Plasma, which is the yellowish liquid part of the blood, is extracted from a person who has recovered from the infection and injected into a patient who is suffering from that disease. The plasma contains antibodies that can help a patient fight the pathogen and recover from the disease.
Key points to remember to become a Plasma donor
Always carry a hard copy of the COVID-19 negative report (RT-PCR or rapid antigen test) within 4 months of the day of donation and your Aadhar Card (front and back).
Donate only after 14 days of a COVID-19 positive report if the person is asymptomatic or after 14 days of symptoms if the person is symptomatic.
Women who have ever been pregnant cannot donate COVID-19 convalescent plasma. To avoid the risk of Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI) preference should be given to the use of plasma from male donors or from female donors who have never been pregnant including abortions. This measure lowers the possibility of presence in the plasma of the antibodies to HLA or granulocyte antigens that cause TRALI. TRALI occurs within 6 hours after transfusion of implicated plasma and can be severe.
A person who has received COVID-19 vaccination will not be able to donate plasma for 28 days from the date of vaccination.
A person can not donate if he/she gets rejected for the lack of adequate antibodies in the blood.
A person can only donate plasma if they are not older than 60-65 years of age, do not have uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension, do not have chronic kidney, heart, lung, or liver disease.
(Source: DNA, Istweb.org)
Donors ineligible for convalescent plasma donation:
Those weighing less than 50 kilos.
Diabetics on insulin.
Those with B.P more than 140, and diastolic less than 60 or more than 90.
Uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension with a change in medication took place in the last 28 days.
Chronic kidney/heart/lung or liver disease.
Persons with comorbidities.
How many times can a person donate Plasma?
As per ICMR guidelines, a donor can donate up to 500 ml of plasma (according to weight) more than once, with a gap of 15 days. 400 ml of plasma can save two lives. The process can last up to four hours (from tests to transfusion), and if the donor experiences discomfort, the machine can be detached immediately.
(Source: DNA, Istweb.org)
Dr Nishith Vacchani of the LifeBlood Centre in Rajkot says, “Plasma therapy is recommended or prescribed to selected patients within seven to 10 days of the onset of moderate symptoms. The antibodies, transferred from a recovered coronavirus patient, can only help generate a faster immune response in a patient.”
Dr Naresh Trehan, the founder of Medanta Hospital, told the BBC that timing is an important factor in determining the efficacy of plasma. “If given at a time when a patient is between stage two and three of the cytokine storm, the therapy can be useful. But it doesn’t work when given in the late stage of the disease.”