Topic #6: Is the blood of COVID-19 survivors useful for treatment?
Question: Is the blood of COVID-19 survivors useful for treatment?
Answer: Yes. For over a hundred years, doctors have used the blood of survivors of severe infections to treat patients. This is because survivors’ blood contains proteins called antibodies that are specially capable of fighting the infection. Doctors have started to test this for COVID-19.
Antibodies are fighter proteins that the body produces to fight infection. Antibodies against COVID can be found in a part of the blood of COVID-19 survivors called CONVALESCENT PLASMA. This convalescent plasma is what is taken from COVID-19 survivors and infused into severely ill patients. The treatment has been given to many patients now with good results in most. It is now being evaluated by different groups of scientists across the world.
Transfusion of convalescent plasma is not risk free, however. One of them main risks is that other infections can be carried in plasma and transmitted to the recipient. Other people may have an allergic reaction.
Is convalescent plasma transfusion widely available now? No, it is not. While most survivors tend to be willing to give their blood to save other people, collection and processing of plasma requires special expertise and equipment. It is also costly. Nevertheless, doctors have added convalescent plasma transfusion to the treatment options being tested for COVID-19.
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