Coronavirus: What is convalescent plasma therapy?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of convalescent plasma therapy as an experimental treatment in clinical trials and for critically ill COVID-19 patients without other treatment options.
The therapy, which takes antibodies from the blood of a person who has recovered from a virus and transfuses those antibodies into a person sick with that virus, has long been used as a way to help kickstart a person’s immune system.
Since the March 24 FDA approval, 11 critically ill COVID-19 patients in New York City and Houston received experimental treatment using convalescent care. The results of those cases have not been reported yet.
The therapy has also been used in other parts of the world.
Convalescent plasma therapy involves transfusing certain components from the blood of people who have had the COVID-19 virus and recovered into people who are very sick with the virus or people who are at high risk of getting the virus.
As people fight the COVID-19 virus, they produce antibodies that attack the virus. Those antibodies, proteins that are secreted by immune cells known as B lymphocytes, are found in plasma, or the liquid part of blood that helps the blood to clot when needed and supports immunity.
Once a person has had the virus and recovered, that person has developed antibodies that will stay in their blood waiting to fight the same virus should it return. Those antibodies, when injected into another person with the disease, recognize the virus as something to attack.
In India, Odisha has extended the lockdown to contain the coronavirus disease till the end of this month as more states identify new risk areas and impose stringent restrictions.
India is also preparing to start clinical trials to treat Covid-19 patients with convalescent plasma therapy that involves drawing antibody-rich blood from survivors to treat the sick.