Corona virus infection spreading all over the world continuously. Till now, we don’t have any medicine, antiviral drugs or any vaccine for Covid 19. Mild to moderate infection of Covid 19, are curable with some drugs and immunity power of patient. But in severe cases, when patient is on ventilator,there are a treatment for covid 19 called plasma therapy, recieved a lots of importance.
The plasma therapy firstly was discovered by a German physiologists Emil Von during in 1890. In 1901 he went on to become the first person to receive a Nobel Prize in the field of medicine. Recently, global media give a lots of attention to the plasma therapy. So, what is Plasma therapy and how does it work?
What is Plasma therapy?
When any harmful bacteria or virus like Influenza or Corona are enters our body, body tries to kill it. It is because of our immune system. There are different kinds of soldier cells in our bloodstream and among them are antibodies. Our body generates a unique antibody to fight a particular invader. The invader also called Antigen. Like the antibody for covid 19 will be different from the antibody for the H1N1 virus.
Unique antibody for unique virus. In simple language, Unique soldier for unique invader. Antibodies are very effective in fighting against the viruses like coronavirus. But our body takes time to release these antibodies. This time is called reaction time. And hence, during this reaction time, corona virus get enough time to take over and spread itself more and more inside the body mainly lungs and the person’s health becomes worse.
How Plasma therapy does work?
What if we take antibodies from the recovered patient, whose body has already produced antibodies to fight the corona virus and give it to an Covid 19 ill patient, whose body is unable to do so in time?
This is what the plasma therapy is all about. its is an old method in which transfer of antibodies is done by the transfer of Plasma from recovered patient to critically ill patient. plasma is a part of blood which about 55% of the whole blood in our body. Rest of 45% is made up of the red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets etc. The plasma is made of water, salts, enzymes, proteins and a several antibodies.
If a covid 19 recovered patient donates its plasma, and it is given to critically ill covid 19 patient, the unique antibodies will start targeting and fighting the corona virus.
How is this happen?
The process of donating plasma is similar to blood transfusion. By a specificmethod, plasma is extracted from the blood and the remaining cells are returning to the donars body. The process of extracting Plasma from the blood is known as Plasmapheresis. But, there are two requirements here. First, the blood group of the donor must matched with the blood group of the receiver. And second, is that the plasma of the donor must have a sufficient amount of antibodies. According to the research paper published in the journal of clinical investigation, Plasma therapy works only when plasma is given in a sufficient amount to receiver. A donar can donates its plasma twice a week. Unlike the proper blood donation, which is once in three months. A single donar can donate 400 ml of Plasma at one time. 200 ml is sufficient to treat 1 covid 19 patient. hence plasma donated by a single person was recovered from covid 19 , can help to recover two covid 19 patients.
Is Plasma therapy better than a vaccine?
Plasma therapy is only for preventive measure and is used for critically ill patients. It gives a passive immunization. The vaccines gives an active immunity. When a vaccine against a perticular infection, given to a person , the immune system starts producing specific antibody against inveder. This antibodies have memory in the cells to find any future infection by the same. In future, when the vaccinated person is infected by the actual bacteria or virus, the immune system neutralises the infection by releasing the unique antibody. As compare to Plasma therapy, vaccine provide such life long immunity. And the effect of Plasma therapy last only till the antibodies remain in the bloodstream of infected patient.
Therefore, the protection given by the Plasma therapy is only for short period to treat critical patients in ICU. So, the plasma therapy does not seem to be a complete therapy. But nevertheless, it has helped in treating some of the critically ill covid 19 patients all over the world.
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