Scientists around the world are investigating the use of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to save those who have developed serious complications due to Coronavirus.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 develop natural defenses to the disease in their blood (antibodies). Antibodies are found in part of the blood called plasma. Blood plasma, which is the material that is left after red and white blood cells have been removed may help those who have been exposed to the coronavirus and are at high risk of infection.
Plasma from blood donated from recovered patients, which contains COVID-19 antibodies, can be used to make two preparations. Firstly, convalescent plasma, which is plasma that contains these antibodies. Secondly, hyperimmune immunoglobulin, which is more concentrated, and therefore contains more antibodies.
Convalescent plasma and hyperimmune immunoglobulin have been used successfully to treat other respiratory viruses. These treatments (given by a drip or injection) are generally well-tolerated, but unwanted effects can occur.
On March 28, Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas became the first academic center in America to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma.
The first critically ill Covid-19 patient in India who was administered convalescent plasma therapy in April 2020 at Max Hospital in Saket, has now fully recovered.
However, it is important to determine its safety and efficacy via clinical trials before routinely administering convalescent plasma to patients with COVID-19.