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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Could plasma therapy help treat Covid-19 patients in Qatar?

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The country is encouraging recovered patients to donate plasma to treat current COVID-19 patients. 

Doctors at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) are using Convalescent Plasma Therapy to treat current Covid-19 patients in Qatar to help speed up their recovery process, the health institution announced. 

According to HMC, one plasma from a recovered patient can be used to treat up to two infected patients. The blood donated by those who have already recuperated has antibodies that can be given to patients currently fighting with Covid-19.

The state-funded health initiative is being shared on social media to encourage residents to donate plasma.  

“With the help of our clinical teams, you have recovered from Covid-19 infection. However, there are many other patients who are still suffering from this infection and you can help them to recover by donating your plasma. Plasma from one recovered patient can be used to treat one to two infected patients,” HMC said on their website.

How it works

Due to its efficacy, the usage of plasma has been used plenty of of times throughout history to treat pandemics.

When a person is infected with a virus, their bodies produce antibodies to fight the infection to help them recover. During the recovery process, the body’s blood plasma remains with a large amount of antibodies. By donating blood, the plasma can be used for other patients still suffering to help boost their immunity and accelerate their recovery process. 

The 45-60 minute procedure, called “Plasmapheresis,” is carried out by a technician, in which they collect the plasma and then separate it in a bag. The remaining blood is returned to the donator. The procedure is completely safe and recovered patients can donate more than one time, but the maximum frequency is be 1-2 times a week.

Eligibility 

Recovered patients can donate their plasma two weeks after they have been released from the hospital or isolation facilities. Only fully recovered patients can donate their plasma, and should be symptom-free for 14 days after discharge or since the last negative test for Covid-19. People can also donate their plasma 28 days after diagnosis.

In addition, only men over 18 years old can donate plasma. This could be attributed to the fact that pregnant women’s plasma can be fatal to the recipient, according to medical sources. 

“When a woman becomes pregnant, she develops antibodies against the father’s (partner’s) genetic material called Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA). The HLA antibody can lead to Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI),” Dr Sachin Jadhav, group head of haematology and bone marrow transplant at HCG Hospital where the plasma bank is located, explained to DH

“As per current international guidelines, it is recommended not to take plasma from women who have ever been pregnant as there is a slightly higher risk of reaction in the recipient. Any woman who has carried a baby for four to six months and then miscarried will also have the antibodies.”

Read also: Myths vs facts: Your biggest vaccine worries extinguished

Recovered patients should also be in good health on the day of the donation, not weigh less than 50kgs and have physical rest and plenty of sleep before donating, according to the ministry of health. 

How to register 

Those who wish to donate their plasma can contact the team from Communicable Disease Center (CDC) using the following contact: Communicable Disease Center Doha – Qatar 40254003. 

The donation will be carried out at the Blood Donor Center, opposite the HMC Specialty Surgical Center.


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