July 21, 2020 By RJ

Plasma Therapy is given to a patients for transfusion with plasma (or serum) from those who have developed antibodies to a virus or bacteria.

This process grants the patient some passive immunity.Convalescent blood is an option if there are no medicines or vaccine to treat infectious disease. The 1st valid trial was done in 1892 for Diphtheria using serus from animals.

plasma therapy

What is Plasma?

It is the often forgotten part of blood. White blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets are important to body function. But it also plays a key role. This fluid carries the blood components throughout the body.

How does plasma keep you healthy?

Along with water, salt, and enzymes, it also contains important components. These include antibodies, clotting factors, and the proteins albumin and fibrinogen. When you donate blood, healthcare providers can separate these vital parts from your plasma. These parts can then be concentrated into various products. These products are then used as treatments that can help save the lives of people suffering from burns, shock, trauma, and other medical emergencies.

The proteins and antibodies in plasma are also used in therapies for rare chronic conditions. These include autoimmune disorders and hemophilia. People with these conditions can live long and productive lives because of the treatments.

Donating Plasma

During the actual blood donation process, your blood is drawn through a needle placed in a vein in one arm. A special machine separates the plasma and often the platelets from your blood sample. This process is called plasmapheresis. The remaining red blood cells and other blood components are then returned to your body, along with a little saline (salt) solution. People with the blood type AB are in the greatest demand for it’s donation. They make up just 2 in 50 people, their plasma is universal. This means it can be used by anyone.

plasma therapy

Facts about Plasma

It is the largest part of your blood. It, makes up more than half (about 55%) of its overall content. When separated from the rest of the blood, It is a light yellow liquid. It carries water, salts and enzymes. The main role of it is to take nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the parts of the body that need it. Cells also put their waste products into the plasma. It helps remove this waste from the body.It also carries all parts of the blood through your circulatory system.

What is Convalescent Plasma Therapy?

The convalescent plasma therapy aims at using antibodies from the blood of a recovered Covid-19 patient to treat those critically affected by the virus. The therapy can also used to immunise those at a high risk of contracting the virus.This therapy’s concept is simple and is based on the premise that the blood of a patient who has recovered from Covid-19 contains antibodies with the specific ability of fighting novel coronavirus. 

How Convalescent Plasma Therapy works?

  • These antibodies are developed in a patient as part of the body’s natural immune response to a foreign pathogen or in this case, the novel coronavirus. These antibodies are highly specific to the invading pathogen and so, work to eliminate the novel coronavirus from the patient’s body.
  • Once the patient has recovered, they donate their blood so that their antibodies can be used to treat other patients. The donated blood is then checked for the presence of any other disease-causing agents such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV etc.
  • If deemed safe, the blood is then taken through a process to extract ‘plasma’, the liquid part of the blood that contains antibodies. The antibody-rich plasma, once extracted, is then ingested into the body of a patient under treatment thus plasma therapy works.
plasma therapy
Blood Plasma

How Plasma Therapy was helpfull in early days?

  •  In 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recommended the use of convalescent plasma therapy to treat patients with the antibody-rich plasma of those who had recovered from the Ebola virus disease.
  • For the treatment of people infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which is also caused by a coronavirus, a protocol for use of convalescent plasma was established in 2015.
  • During the 1918 H1N1 influenza virus (Spanish flu) pandemic, the therapy was used experimentally.
  • The plasma therapy was used as a treatment during the H1N1 infection of 2009.
  • Others serious outbreaks that have seen the use of this therapy are the SARS outbreakMeaslesHIVpolio and mumps.