Plasma Donation – Doubts & Answers

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Corona spread is expanding day by day. Some are losing their lives. In this context, the Indian council of Medical Research (ICMR) says that plasma therapy can be used to get rid of the corona. The plasma collected from those who conquered Covid (Warriors) and transfused into the diseased, producing an abundance of antibodies in the body, claiming that they would recover. Medical professionals are calling on the Warriors to come forward voluntarily for this. In this background Dr. Hitesh Kumar, Transfusion Medicine Specialist, Head of Blood Bank, KIMS Hospitals, explained the benefits of this, how it is done, who is eligible and so on

Question: Who needs plasma therapy?

Dr. Hitesh Kumar: Plasma therapy is required for Covid patients whose disease is moderate to severe not responding to steroids. It is collected from those who have already surpassed Covid (Warriors). This plasma should be injected into corona patients if IgM capacity is low. In addition, the patient recovers very quickly from the virus through a few other antibodies newly produced in the body. Ultimately the treating doctors will determine who needs it.

Question: Who can donate plasma? How to collect?

Dr. Hitesh Kumar: Covid recovered patients between the ages of 18 and 55 can donate. Those with Hypertension and Diabetes are also eligible if under control. Men, Nulliparous(Never pregnant) women can donate . HIV patients, kidney transplant recipients, cancer patients, those who have been on medication for six months in a row, TB patients and surgeons are ineligible. Before the patient comes to donate, diagnostic tests such as HIV and corona IgG are performed. They will start picking up from them after seeing if IgG antibodies is high in them or not. Surely that person put a report on their swab collection to find out if the person was a Covid patient in the past. Arrangements are in place to find out the full details of them in the blood bank and move forward.

Question: How many times can a person donate?

Dr. Hitesh Kumar: A person can donate twice a month. Once taken, it can be stored at minus 40 degrees Celsius for up to a year

Question: Can blood groups give anything else?

Dr. Hitesh Kumar: Best possible choice is that donor has the same blood group as the patient,if not it is transfused according to the plasma compatibility chart only.

Question: How much is taken from a person? How useful is it?

Dr. Hitesh Kumar: Plasma is collected 80 ml per cycle. We take five cycles i.e. 400 ml from one person by plasmapheresis. Usually 200 ml is enough for a patient. If his/her body does not respond, a maximum of three doses can be given.

Question: How to register names for it? How long does it take for a plasma to be donated?

Dr. Hitesh Kumar: We use the plasma taken here only for the KIMS Hospital patients. If anyone wants to donate, we will do the prescribed diagnostic tests for them upon arrival and take the plasma donation (process time 45 min). On average a donor should spend three hours.

Question: Will there be any changes in the health of the person after donating plasma?

Dr. Hitesh Kumar: There will be no change in those who are given plasma. No blood cells are extracted from their blood. Hence there is no chance of weakening. In just over an hour, the person can get his work done as usual.