PLASMA THERAPY - The fire extinguisher against corona storm

Dr Debaleena Dev Barman; M.D.

May 2, 2020, 13:08:05   

Covid-19 has currently emerged as a big threat to the global health. Till date NO anti viral agent claiming to cure it (those available, not appropriate in Indian context). The present world health infrastructure is inadequate to tackle the colossal burden of the disease COVID -19. Top priority of every country is to slow the pace of the disease progression and extent of mortality.The need of the hour is to device out effective treatment for critically ill COVID -19 to cut down the death rate. At least for a while, to buy some time till the targeted therapies are available. Among many innovative thoughts plasma therapy emerged as a useful modality of treatment.

Is use of convalescent plasma therapy is new? No, it was used earlier for treating several acute respiratory syndromes of viral origin. The plasma therapy was tried and found successful to treat patients with avian influenza (H5N1), Ebola virus outbreaks etc. in past . The same we have conceptualised to do for CORONA pandemic. 

"Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work." -Rita Mae Brown

It is the filtered plasma pool of healthy infected people recovered from Corona infection with two consecutive negative tests. These infected persons at this phase has high level of antibody. Anti body(immune rich filtrate) of these persons is obtained through PLASMAPHERESIS. Premade antibodies given to Covid-19 patients. Encouraging signs of recovery in the form of symptoms reduction are obvious in initial reports. Symptoms like respiratory distresses improves within one to three days,lung tissue heals with in a week. No detectable trace of SARS COV2 in 1-5 days . However therapy has to be carefully timed and not always successful to extinguish the CYTOKINE STORM.


If you are waiting for vaccines, dear readers this is not going to happen in coming few months or years. I m talking about specific Covid-19 vaccines. I think this testimony is enough to blunt the rumors of getting a vaccine soon. Even if a vaccine is developed that is no way going to save a patient who already got a Corona virus infection and struggling with a serious Covid complications.

Countries like China, South Korea, USA and UK also experimenting with convalescent plasma therapy. India is rightly adapted those footsteps soon. Leading journals says indeed small trials are 'ENCOURAGING'. Kerela is the first state to initiate the protocol of plasma therapy followed by many other states. States that are presently allowed to conduct plasma therapy are Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka , Gujrat. But, the list may be longer. The goal is to reach a point where no one dies of COVID-19 anymore. 


Dr Debaleena Dev Barman; M.D.
Pathologist, Department of Pathology
A.G.M.C & G.B. Pant Hospital Agartala
( Author worked in transfusion medicine unit, Pathology department,K.G.M.U; Lucknow )



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