Kazakhstan launches blood plasma treatment for COVID-19 patients
Kazakhstan starts using blood plasma treatment in the fight against COVID-19. Patients who recover from coronavirus will be able to donate their plasma and antibodies for patients in critical condition, which should help stabilize it. However, first, plasma donors have to get tested for COVID-19 two times and show negative results. Only after that they can be registered in the database.
“After the donor registers, he goes to the laboratory to get tested for hemoglobin, blood type, Rh factor, as well as liver function parameters - ALT and AST,” said head of the blood donor recruitment department of the Research and Production Center for Transfusiology Elmira Kopeyeva.
First, doctors measure height, weight, blood pressure and body temperature of the plasma donor. Then the donor gets connected to the special device that separates the plasma from the blood. Currently, this treatment of COVID-19 infection is introduced in many countries. Thus, the antibodies of the American doctor, who recovered from coronavirus, will help many current COVID-19 patients.
“I am now at the New York Blood Center. Doctors will extract my plasma. It is a yellowish liquid, which is rich with antibodies. If we transfer this plasma to someone who is seriously sick, we can hope that it will help his system develop the antibodies to more quickly defeat COVID-19,” said Zevy Hamburger, an anesthesiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
This method is widely used in China, the country where the coronavirus outbreak first started. The health condition of many patients hospitalized with coronavirus here got better after doctors used plasma from recovered patients.
“The recent studies proved that plasma contains antibodies that are able to neutralize coronavirus. Plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 showed good results in treatment of critically ill patients,” said Guo Yanhong, an official with the China’s National Health Commission.
Experts say that plasma taken from one donor can cure three patients. However, they emphasize that this method cannot be a vaccine alternative. The convalescent plasma therapy can only help to support the COVID-19 patient’s immunity against the virus.
“It is impossible to completely cure a patient with the blood plasma transferred from coronavirus survivors. Such treatment can only help boost the immune system of the critically ill patient. Therefore, it cannot replace a vaccine. Blood plasma can only alleviate the COVID-19 patient’s condition,” said Director of the Research and Production Center for Transfusiology Saniya Abdrakhmanova.