Plasma is the yellow liquid portion of blood comprised of water, salts, and proteins which contains numerous proteins essential for proper functioning of the body. insufficient levels of any one plasma protein prevents the body from carrying out vital functions, causing a variety of chronic and life-threatening medical conditions.
This notion was first introduced in the late 19th century when physiologist Emil von Behring and bacteriologist Kitasato Shibasaburou discovered that they could use antibodies present in serum — another blood component — to fight the bacterial infection diptheria.
Since then, doctors have used passive antibody therapy, on and off, at least since the 1930s to treat or prevent both bacterial and viral infections, including forms of pneumonia, meningitis, and measles.
COVID-19 plasma is plasma collected from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. The blood of people who have recovered from an infection contains antibodies. Antibodies are molecules that have learned to recognize and fight the pathogens, such as viruses, that have caused disease.
Researchers hope that convalescent plasma can be given to people with severe COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus. It also might help keep people who are moderately ill from becoming more ill and experiencing COVID- 19 complications.
Convalescent plasma therapy may be helpful for people with COVID-19 who aren't helped by other treatments. Some people with COVID-19 become very sick and don't respond to other treatments or drugs. They often require mechanical assistance, such as a ventilator, to breathe. These people also are in danger of developing organ failure.
It could also help other people who may have a higher risk of serious illness, such as people with chronic medical conditions, for example, heart disease or diabetes, or those who have weakened immune systems. Convalescent plasma could help these people from getting sicker if they get COVID-19.
Before donated blood can be used, it must be tested for safety. It then goes through a process to separate out blood cells so that all that's left is plasma with antibodies.
A special machine separates the plasma and often the platelets from the donors’ blood sample. This process is called plasmapheresis. The remaining red blood cells and other blood components are then returned to the body
The plasma is then carried to the patient.
Before convalescent plasma therapy, the health care team prepares the patient for the procedure. The health care team member inserts a sterile single-use needle connected to a tube (intravenous, or IV, line) into a vein in one of the arms. When the plasma arrives, the sterile plasma bag is attached to the tube and the plasma drips out of the bag and into the tube. It takes about one to two hours to complete the procedure.
In addition to meeting the donor eligibility criteria, donors must have had a prior infection of COVID-19 and must have recovered from symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation. In addition they should:
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