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COVID-19 and Plasma therapy tales

Photo by Halacious on Unsplash

The plasma therapy, recently being the most safe and efficient treatment for COVID-19 is witnessing contrast results in different parts of the world.

In Washington, researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia published in the journal of Pediatric Blood and Cancer, about the 1st report of safe recovery of life threatening illness of COVID-19 of children

One possible treatment that has been explored in adults is the use of convalescent plasma, which is derived from patients who have recovered from COVID-19, they said. Plasma therapy is a convalescent therapy which uses blood from COVID recovered patients and they are administered in the ill patients, which produce antibodies to inactivate the virus.

These researchers explored the use of plasma therapy to cure children with serious complications after acquiring COVID-19. The study involved 4 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. They carried out the convalescent plasma infusion and measured donor antibodies and the recipient antibody response to check any adverse reactions.

The results of the 4 patients showed that the use of this convalescent plasma was not associated with any antibody- dependent enhancement, where the antibodies developed during previous infection cause a worsened response with subsequent infection which is of a concern in other pre-clinical models of corona virus and this treatment did not suppress the endogenous antibody response to.

Teachey, the researcher of this study explained that they believe that the convalescent plasma might provide the greatest benefit for patients who are early into their illness and not yet generated any endogenous antibodies.

She quoted, “While the small sample size of our study does not allow us to draw any definitive conclusions, we believe this method is safe and future research should include randomized controlled trials to more definitively examine how effective convalescent plasma may be in treating children infected with COVID-19”

As one side of the story shows promising results in India Indian Council of Medical research shows that plasma therapy neither reduces the death rate nor slows down the progression of the disease from mild to severe stage.

Well, why so? ICMR conducted the therapy on 464 moderately ill patients with breathing difficulties and also 93 percent oxygen saturation level, and they were divided into two groups: 235 were given plasma therapy and 229 received only standard care. Those 235 patients were transfused with two doses of 200 ml plasma 24 hours apart. Both treatment and control groups were compared after 28 days.

The ICMR’s plasma therapy study, called PLACID, is the first and largest randomized control trial to be completed in the world. Two previous studies from China and the Netherlands could not be completed.

The placid results indicate there was no difference in 28 days mortality or progression to severe disease among these patients. They also said the level of antibodies present in plasma produced no difference in outcomes.

While plasma therapy didn’t reduce mortality among patients, the results showed that the proportion of patients with resolution of shortness of breath and fatigue at day 7 were higher in the intervention arm. They also added that the negative conversion of SARS-COV-2 viral RNA (a beneficial event which promotes virus clearance), but the total mortality and progression of disease showed no difference.

Several states like Delhi, Odisha, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are conducting plasma therapy to tackle the outbreak of corona virus. Some are seeing benefits, some are not seeing any change at the 3rd stage of COVID, but there is still not clarity on how successful it is The World Health Organization last month was cautious about endorsing the use of recovered COVID-19 patients' plasma to treat those who are ill, saying evidence it works remains "low quality".

Will this Convalescent Plasma therapy be one of the path breaking researches for cure of this virus in children and adults?? Only time will tell.

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