Every day the world wakes up to acknowledge a new statistic around an invisible and infamous enemy of humankind: COVID-19. To count the deaths, recoveries and the people who happened to come under the viral arrest of COVID-19 now seems like an unremitting process.
To put a halt to this biological havoc, the medical fraternity from across the world is putting to use the best of its knowledge for pioneering the treatment specific to the novel coronavirus.
In this race, the convalescent plasma therapy is emerging as a ray of hope to control the rampant viral infection, globally.
What is Convalescent Plasma Therapy?
The anti-bodies are the natural response of a person’s immune system that helps the body fight against a disease.
In convalescent plasma therapy, the antibodies developed in the blood of those people who have already recovered from an infectious disease are further used to treat those people who are currently under treatment. The recovered people are hooked up to a small device called the Plasmapheresis machine, their blood is drawn, and the antibodies are thus extracted from it.
These extracted antibodies can be injected into the blood of either ill patients in order to treat them or those who are fighting against the pandemic on the front lines in order to prevent them from falling prey to the infection.
History of Convalescent Plasma Therapy
The convalescent plasma therapy has its vast history of being proven vital as a treatment of several epidemics and pandemics, globally.
For instance, during the Spanish flu in 1918, H1N1 infection in 2009, Ebola virus disease in 2014, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2015, this therapy had proven efficient for treatment.
It was also used to treat diseases like measles, polio, bacterial pneumonia, etc. before the vaccines were developed.
Scope Of The Therapy In The Case Of COVID-19
Researchers in the US are trying to measure the strength of the antibodies to learn how strong should the vaccine be for coronavirus.
In China, various trials have been performed on critically ill patients in which improvement was seen in patients’ conditions with no severe adverse effects.
Several other cases have been registered where COVID-19 patients were infused with the antibody-rich plasma and consequently got relieved, giving the world a positive sign.
Countries like China, the USA, Turkey, Italy, South Korea, The United Kingdom, etc., are looking forward to convalescent plasma therapy as a technique to get out of the grip of this global crisis.
India And The Convalescent Plasma Therapy
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has finally got the approval on its proposal for the clinical trial of the convalescent plasma therapy submitted to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
The DCGI has stated that the trial will be conducted on moderately ill patients of COVID-19. The samples will be collected from the individuals who are eligible to donate blood and are at least 28 days into the symptom-free period. Since plasma donation can be done more frequently than regular blood donation, individuals will be encouraged to donate blood.
The ICMR is gradually allowing states in India to conduct the clinical trial of convalescent plasma therapy. Kerala, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi, etc. have already begun the treatment using this therapy.
Evident from the past cases, this therapy might potentially help in the face-off with coronavirus. At the same time there are still some unknowns regarding it.
Now only time will tell how far it will take the world on the way to eradicate the coronavirus.
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