WHAT IS CONVALESCENT PLASMA? *

When a person contracts a virus like SARS-CoV-2 (causative agent of COVID-19), his/her immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in plasma, which is the liquid part of blood. Plasma with these infection-fighting antibodies is called “CONVALESCENT PLASMA.”

This antibody-rich plasma is extracted from blood donated by a recovered person, is tested, then transfused to a sick patient who is still fighting the virus. This provides a boost to the immune system of the sick patient and may help speed up the recovery process.

CONVALESCENT PLASMA FOR COVD-19 *

It is considered an investigational treatment for patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 infection because clinical studies have started but have not yet been completed. We know there is evidence that convalescent plasma has helped patients with other ailments, but doctors and researchers will not know how effective convalescent plasma will be in treating COVID-19 patients until more studies are completed.

While there is still no vaccine against COVID-19, convalescent plasma can be considered and may help some moderately or severely ill patients.

WHEN DID THE USE OF CONVALESCENT PLASMA START AS A TREATMENT OPTION? *

Convalescent plasma therapy was first used in the 1890s and helped reduce the severity of a number of infectious disease outbreaks prior to the development of antimicrobial therapy in the 1940s.

In the early 20th century, convalescent plasma treatment was used during outbreaks of various infectious diseases, including measles, mumps and influenza. More recently, it was used during the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, and again in 2013 during the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

IS CONVALESCENT PLASMA TRANSFUSION SAFE? *

If you or someone you know is being treated for a moderate of severe case of COVID-19, your doctors may determine that convalescent plasma transfusion is an appropriate treatment option to consider. You should discuss this treatment with your doctor to understand if it is the best option for you.

Plasma transfusion is generally considered a low-risk procedure. Each donation undergoes extensive testing and processing for safety and quality. Early research into the use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 suggests that it may be a safe and effective therapy that reduces the length and severity of the COVID-19.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE RISKS AND DISCOMFORTS? *

Blood collection from the arm may sometimes cause bruising, mild pain, and discomfort. The hospital will take all necessary preventive measures to minimize the aforementioned risks. Some people may feel light-headed or some tingling sensation, especially while donating plasma. These symptoms will last for few minutes and will eventually subside.

HOW IS IT DONE? *

Step 1. Recovered COVID-19 patient donates plasma
Step 2. Plasma is tested
Step 3. Plasma is stored and transported to a hospital
Step 4. Patient is treated with plasma
Step 5. Therapy is complete.
Step 6. Patient may become a donor

WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO DONATE? **

People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks are encouraged to consider donating plasma, which may help save the lives of other patients. COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood. Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other donor criteria. Individuals must have complete resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days before they donate, or alternatively have no symptoms for at least 14 days prior to donation and have a negative lab test for active COVID-19 disease.

Sources:
* PGH Blood Donor Center https://bit.ly/3cuKANV
** U.S. FDA https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/donate-covid-19-plasma

An initiative of Senator Sonny Angara, TatakPinoy in collaboration with Talking Myna IT Consulting

Office of Senator Sonny Angara, Tatak Pinoy, and Talking Myna IT Consulting

Our partners: Plasma collecting hospitals & institutions in the Philippines

Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, St. Luke's Medical Center, and PAMET Cebu
COVID-19-response
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