The demand for convalescent plasma is increasing amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's how you can help.
The Better India has launched a ‘Plasma Donor Registration‘ drive to encourage those eligible to sign up for donations and provide a single-point resource for those looking for Plasma donations.
Blood Plasma Therapy can help prevent COVID-19 patients from going onto ventilators and is helpful in specific timeframes for those infected by the Coronavirus.
We will verify the details of those signing up for the donations and highlight their availability and region, so those in urgent need can get the help they need as soon as possible. If you, or someone you know, has recovered from a COVID-19 attack in the parameters mentioned below, kindly do consider signing up.
What Doctors Say:
Speaking to The Better India, Dr Nishith Vacchani of the Life Blood 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.”
Meanwhile, Dr Naresh Trehan, 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.” A cytokine storm is when the body’s immune system triggers a self-destructive overreaction.
However, Dr Atul Kulkarni of Pune’s Krishna Hospital, and the director-in-charge at Janakalyan Blood Bank is of the opinion that plasma therapy can help prevent patients from becoming serious and having to go on ventilators. He agrees with Dr Trehan’s view, and says, “Plasma is very useful in the initial phase of the disease.”
In its report, ICMR answers some commonly asked questions:
Who can donate plasma?
A patient who has recovered from COVID-19 can donate plasma after 28-30 days of recovery.
The donor must visit the hospital/plasma bank centre where she/he will undergo tests to map the status of serum protein, CBC (complete blood counts) and ABO RhD blood group. Other tests include checking for the hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, HIV, malaria, and syphilis. Depending on how many days have passed since the recovery, the donor will also have to take an antibody screening test as per the ICMR kit method.
- The donor should weigh 50 kilos and above
- They must be between the ages of 18 and 60.
- They should preferably have had symptoms (fever, cold, cough, etc) since such patients have a greater possibility of possessing anti-SARS-Cov-2 IgG antibodies as compared to an asymptomatic patient. Asymptomatic recovered patients can also donate if antibodies are present.
- 28 days after a complete resolution of symptoms.
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 taken place in the last 28 days.
- Cancer survivors.
- Chronic kidney/heart/lung or liver disease.
- Women who have been pregnant in the past.
- Persons with comorbidities.
Persons who have received any COVID-19 vaccination will not be able to donate for 28 days from the date of the second dose.
Who can receive plasma?
- Those in the early stages of COVID-19.
- Plasma should be administered within 3-7 days of the onset of symptoms, but no later than 10 days.
- Those who have no IgG Antibody against COVID-19.
The number of times one can donate, and how much.
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.
How many can benefit from one plasma donor?
One person can help up to two people. The donor is advised against donating plasma more than two times a month.
(Edited by Divya Sethu/Vinayak Hegde)