Plasma Therapy: A New Hope To Fight Against Novel Coronavirus

The most recently developed novel coronavirus, also named as COVID-19, affecting humans and animals. Coronavirus is responsible to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Till date there is no particular treatment or antiviral therapy is available to treat against COVID-19. However, to overcome this life-threatening viral infection, there are several ongoing clinical trials of both western and traditional medicines are under practice. Even WHO is also coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to treat and to control the spread of pandemic COVID-19.

Recently, in India, medical practitioners attempted Plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 patients, and they found promising results towards this. It was firstly experienced at Uttar Pradesh, though the patient died because of a heart attack. The procedure is carried out by transfusing plasma, which contains antibodies, donated from a recovered COVID-19 patient to an infective patient suffering from COVID-19. The principle behind this therapy is that the infected patient harbors an active infection and generates antibodies against the infection, hence, immunity can be transferred from a healthy person to a sick individual using convalescent plasma. To rule out the improvement of infection, the D-dimer test is performed through blood samples, which observes a serious blood clot.

The attempt of Plasma therapy treatment was conducted as per the protocol of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and with the permission of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). After observing the promising results of plasma therapy, the FDA has issued guidance to provide recommendations to health care providers and investigators on the administration. Though, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved convalescent plasma for use as it is still regulated as an investigational product. For administering plasma therapy as one of the treatment options, it is under the pathways which include clinical trial, expanded access, and a single patient emergency.

Earlier the plasma therapy was used against rabies, hepatitis B, polio, measles, influenza, and Ebola. It also used in the outbreaks of MERS and SARS-1. Against these viral infections, plasma therapy showed a positive response. Nowadays, the attempt of plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 patients is under clinical trials and waiting for the approval to get into practice. Hence, we can assume that plasma therapy could be a ray of fresh hope to fight against the scary coronavirus.

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