What is plasma and how does the plasma therapy works in response to current Corona virus situation?
In current pandemic situation,Plasma therapy is another tool that various governments are using to fight corona virus. It is one of the many methods that governments are trying out against COVID-19.
What is plasma?
Plasma is actually a fluid that carries all the components of blood throughout the body. It is the house for RBC, WBC and blood platelets. Plasma is about 55 percent of your total blood contain. Plasma looks like a light yellowish color liquid when separated from other components of blood . It is mainly consist of enzymes, water & salt.
Importance of plasma in curing corona virus
Plasma of human blood also consists of anti-bodies, protein albumin, fibrinogen and other clotting factors. Some of which are responsible for protecting our body from different type of diseases.
Earlier, these extracted Antibodies from plasma are often used to create therapies for rare chronic conditions, such as hemophilia and other auto-immune disorders.
Now, it is believed that plasma of the patient who is cured from corona virus may contain the antibodies that his body has developed to fight the virus. Based on this concept, his blood is taken and processed.
A special machine separates the plasma and the platelets from your blood sample. This process is called plasmapheresis. The remaining red blood cells and other blood components are then returned to donor’s body, along with a little saline (salt) solution.
When this plasma is inserted in some other patients body that is corona positive, the anti-bodies present in that plasma will help the patient to fight corona virus.
Next section describes the complete breakdown of the process of plasma therapy.
Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy (PRP)
Plasma also contains platelets which are mainly responsible for clotting of blood. Platelets, sometimes also called as thrombocytes, are blood cells that cause blood clots but are also responsible for other necessary growth healing functions.
Blood fractionation is done to obtain plasma. Basically, it is the process of fractionating whole blood, or separating it into its component parts. This is typically carried out by centrifuging the blood.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses injections of a concentration of platelets obtained from Blood fractionation to accelerate the healing of the patient.
Overall, PRP injections are prepared by taking a few tubes of blood and running it through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. These activated platelets are then injected directly into diseased body tissue. This releases growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells that your body produces.
Chances of curing corona virus through plasma therapy :
- Mainly it depends on the factor that the plasma extracted from recovered patient body consist antibodies against corona or not?
- Secondly how the recipient patient’s body reacts to the plasma inserted in his body.
1. For plasma therapy, it is mandatory to make sure that donor of blood is completely healthy and safe so that the plasma extracted from his blood doesn’t contain the virus or any other infectious micro-organism.
2. People with the blood type AB are in the greatest demand for plasma donation. But, they make up just 2 in 50 people. Although, their plasma is universal. Which means their plasma can be used for anyone in need.
3. This therapy is still in an experimental stage for treatment of corona virus & is not approved by any medical organization till now . Overall, there is limited support of PRP treatment in published clinical studies. So for now we cannot solely depend on this.
Is plasma therapy effective? Does plasma therapy actually cures corona ?
An recent ICMR study (a study by Indian Council of Medical Research published in MedRxiv) suggest that Plasma therapy may not be able to reduce mortality rate.
ICMR’s plasma therapy study, PLACID, is the first and largest randomised control trial registered with Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI). It was carried out in 39 tertiary care hospitals across the country. Between April 22 and July 14, a total of 464 participants were enrolled—235 and 229 in the intervention and control arms, respectively.
So, The PLACID study trial results indicate that there was no difference in the 28-day mortality or progression to severe disease. As it is observed among moderately-ill Covid-19 patients treated with plasma Therapy along with basic standard care as compared to basic standard care alone.
Relevant External links
For guidelines by FDA on plasma therapy
For recent experiment case of plasma therapy
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