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As the covid-19 fastens its grip across different countries, scientists and researchers are exploring various avenues to come up with medical treatments that can fight the novel coronavirus. One such treatment that's in focus right now is Convalescent Plasma Therapy. Convalescent plasma has been listed as a therapeutic method by China’s National Health Commission. On 16 April, the top medical research body of India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved a clinical trial for plasma treatment of those seriously ill with Covid-19.
People have been dwelling a lot on the topic of Plasma therapy and it''s need in treatment of Covid19 cases. Here are the questions which have been asked frequently.
In this section, we are going to answer all the frequently asked questions on Plasma Therapy treatment-
1. What is Plasma Therapy?
The convalescent plasma therapy aims at using the immune power gained by a recovered person to treat a sick person. 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 concept that the blood of a patient who has recovered from Covid-19 contains antibodies with the specific ability of fighting virus. The theory is that the recovered patient's antibodies, once ingested into somebody under treatment, will begin targeting and fighting the novel coronavirus in the second patient.
The countries like USA, China and UK have also started clinical trials of this treatment for the patients of covid-19.
2. Is it approved in India?
Yes, it has been approved the by the DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) for the clinical trials on the covid-19 patients.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved all the interested institutes or organization to conduct trials in consultation and following protocol given by the council.
3. How is the Covid19 treatment given with Plasma Therapy?
For the treatment, blood is collected from the recovered person. This is because the antibodies are already developed in an ex-patient as part of the body's natural immune 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.
After collecting blood, separation of serum and screening is done, for neutralization antibodies.
The ‘convalescent serum’, rich in antibodies for the pathogen, is then administrated to a covid-19 patient.
The covid-19 patient thus acquires passive immunization.
4. Who will receive the treatment?
According to the sources, the treatment will be given to only severely affected patients only. The treatment will be given after the hospital or institute has acquired the consent of the patient for the treatment. As it is a clinical trial, the use of this therapy will be restricted.
#IndiaFightsCorona:— #IndiaFightsCorona (@COVIDNewsByMIB) April 21, 2020
Frequently asked questions on #PlasmaTherapy:
➡️What is plasma therapy❓
➡️Is it approved in India❓
➡️How is the treatment given❓
➡️Who will receive the treatment❓
➡️Was the treatment effective in the past❓
➡️ What are the challenges❓#StayAtHome pic.twitter.com/nG98qdIPyX
5. Was the treatment affective in past?
This is not the first-time convalescent plasma therapy is being considered as a treatment for viral infections and yes, the treatment has been affective in past because of which the scientists and researches are considering it now.
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 of 2009.
Others serious outbreaks that have seen the use of this therapy are the SARS outbreak, Measles, HIV, polio and mumps.
6. What are the challenges?
The most prominent challenge is the amount of plasma to be obtained. As there are more than 13,000 cases in India and only 2,000 cases have been recovered, it will be difficult for the trial conductors to gather a significant amount of plasma. Also, most of the patients are aged and have pre-medical condition making it a bit more difficult.
The first patient who was administered Plasma Therapy on compassionate grounds at Max Hospital, Saket has shown positive results and was recently weaned off ventilator support. The patient is a 49-year-old, male from Delhi who had tested COVID positive on 4 April, 2020.