Can donating plasma really help COVID-19 patients?
COVID-19, the major pandemic that has rocked the world in 2020, has left millions of humans sick and suffering. Recent studies have shown that plasma transfusions have a chance of benefiting these patients.
So let’s see if we will answer the following questions:
- What is COVID-19?
- What is plasma donation?
- How can plasma potentially help?
- How do you donate plasma?
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a virus in the coronaviridae genus that causes respiratory or gastrointestinal disease in a variety of mammals.
People with chronic diseases are particularly at risk of serious illness or death if they catch COVID-19. The fast-spreading virus has put a strain on global health care systems, economies, and mental states around the world.
What is Plasma?
Plasma is the liquid part of our blood. It contains proteins, vitamins, salt, fats, and hormones, all of which are vital to our physical health. Plasma is mostly made of water, 92% of it, in fact. The rest is made up of the solids listed above.
Plasma makes up 55% of our blood. The rest is made of multiple solids that include white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
What Does Donating Plasma Mean?
A plasma donation is similar to a blood donation in that you make an appointment with your local blood-service agency.
With plasma donations, though, you have to have a blood test first. The purpose of this is to test the quality of your veins, the iron content in your blood, and the antibodies present in your blood.
These antibodies are the most important part of plasma donations when it comes to helping COVID-19 patients.
How Can Plasma Donations Help COVID-19 Patients?
Recent studies have shown that certain plasma donations can help COVID-19 patients – in particular, plasma donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19.
One study has shown that of 46 patients who were administered plasma transfusions from March 25 to April 21, the mortality rate was 6.5% in the first seven days. In comparison to the expected mortality rate of 13%. This showed great promise for the benefit of plasma donations.
The current theory behind plasma-transfusion benefits is simple. Those who have overcome the virus have developed antibodies against the virus that lives in their blood. Plasma in particular holds these antibodies. When extracted and supplied to COVID-19 patients, it can help their bodies fight off the illness.
COVID-19 patients who are in critical condition or those who have developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome are in particular need of help.
How Do You Donate Plasma?
Donating plasma is simple.
After you’ve supplied a blood test, you can book your plasma-donation appointment. The process is quite simple.
A certified nurse applies a needle to your arm, and that single needle pulls the blood from your arm. Your blood is then separated into a machine that pulls out the plasma. The solid parts of the blood are then mixed with saline and returned to you via the same needle, so you don’t have to sit with multiple needles in your arms.
Please note: you must have fully recovered from COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to your plasma donation.
- FDA: Donate COVID-19 Plasma
- WHO: Mortality reduction in 46 severe Covid-19 patients treated with hyperimmune plasma
- WHO: Population-based Estimates for High Risk of Severe COVID-19 Disease due to Age and Underlying Health Conditions
- WHO: What We Need to Consider During and After the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic
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