On Friday the Odisha government lifted a sigh of relief as the first patient in the state undergoing plasma therapy for Covid-19 infection was discharged from Ashwini Hospital, Cuttack, after successful treatment.

The 48-year-old woman was in critical condition admitted to hospital on July 14.

Odisha is the nation’s third state after Delhi and Maharashtra to incorporate plasma therapy as a form of treatment for patients with Covid-19.

Plasma therapy is currently used in Bhubaneswar’s Ashwini Hospital, Cuttack, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, and SUM Hospital. SCB Medical College, Cuttack, acts as the plasma therapy no-dal centre.

Recovery news came on a day when Odisha reported a unprecedented single-day increase in positive corona cases recording as many as 1,594 infections.


How is plasma therapy and plasma treatment?

Blood contains two component types-the plasma and cell. Plasma is the blood’s main part outside the cells, which is made up of proteins, nutrients. Blood is the circulating tissue in a simpler way, whereas plasma is a liquid connective tissue that circulates in the blood that connects all organs and cells.

Plasma is around 52 per cent of the volume and floats cells including WBC, RBC, and platelets. Plasma includes plasma proteins, antibodies and the cognitive factors that are essential to the body ‘s work. Plasma is the cognition factor that keeps the blood fluid, so that the blood doesn’t get a clot. The plasma antibodies increase immunity.

If a person suffers from a serious illness, antibodies against the virus , bacteria or parasite are produced in the blood. For example, if someone is suffering from chickenpox, antibodies are formed against the chickenpox virus that persists in the body and in life the person does not again suffer from the same disease. The antibody, then, reinforces immunity.

Immunity is of two forms, however-passive immunity and active immunity. Active immunity is when someone dies from the illness and produces the antibody while passive immunity is like inducing immunity by transfusing plasma into a person’s body or something else.

In the case of COVID-19, there are three ways in which antibodies against the virus can be developed in our body – the first method would be through a vaccine that has not yet been discovered, the second method is when the body contracts the virus, the patient recovers and the antibodies form naturally, and the third method is plasma treatment.

When will a patient donate his or her plasma after how many days of recovery? Who will have the ability to donate?

They can donate after 28 days of recuperation. Antibodies normally take four to six weeks to form so a person would be fit to donate their plasma after only 28 days.

It is unlikely for women who have been pregnant to donate their plasma only once, including aged people, people with heart disease, blood pressure , diabetes, kidney failure, asthma or cancer. Only adults aged 18 to 60 with a body weight greater than 55 kg are eligible to donate their plasma.

How can’t a woman who’s been pregnant donate her plasma, just once? What is the real explanation for that?

The reason for this is that women who had given birth have antibodies that can lead to lung disease.

A sperm and ovum form the foetus, and both parents have the genetic component. The human body now has the nature to form anticorps against any foreign protein. Many that are pregnant or born develop antibodies that circulate in the blood that can damage the lung membrane and lung tissues.

Their plasma is not used as the antibodies in their blood can cause the often referred to as TRALI (Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury) transfusion reaction.

So, they can donate their plasma only to nulliparous women.

There is a lot of research going on around the world to find a vaccine and also come up with medicine to cure COVID 19. At present, it’s all done on an experimental basis. How effective is plasma therapy, then?

There is also some debate about plasma therapy. Since February we had applied for this but ICMR did not authorize us to conduct plasma therapy in the state. Since plasma belongs to some other person, and is transfused to another individual, plasma proteins that cause anaphylaxis or reaction to the recipient. That could cause more harm than good, so they need to access these aspects.

Why does a human collect plasma?

Plasma is stored in a system called Apheresis where the cells are put in the body and only plasma is extracted so only two individuals can use the plasma. We collect around 400 ml from a person but give a person a dosage of just 200 ml.

How much a person can donate plasma, and how many times?

One can donate up to 500 ml of plasma at a time, and transfusion from 100 ml to 200 ml can begin. You can donate plasma as many times as you like. However, we ‘re giving a gap of 2 to 4 weeks for a further donation for health reasons.

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