Convalescent Plasma – Therapy, Advantages, Side Effects

What is Convalescent Plasma therapy- Principle, Advantages, and Side Effects: 

What is Convalescent plasma?

Convalescent plasma is a transfusion of blood plasma from someone who has recovered from viral infections.

Plasma therapy has been used for decades to treat infectious diseases. Plasma therapy was also used to treat SARS, MERS, and H1N1 epidemics. Plasma therapy was used to rescue people from the Spanish flu that spread in 1918 during World War I. Plasma therapy was used for patients infected with Ebola.

Plasma therapy History 

  • 1918: Used to treat HIN1 and influenza virus pandemics, commonly known as the Spanish flu.

  • 2009: Used in the treatment of H1N1 infection.

  • 2014: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of plasma therapy to treat Ebola patients.

  • 2015: Treatment of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a form of coronavirus, is also recommended.

Principle of Convalescent Plasma therapy:

The principle of this treatment is that when a virus infects the human body, the human immune system produces an immune response against the invading virus, and the activated B cells produce antibodies that are released into the bloodstream. When a patient recovers, their serum or plasma contains antibodies against the virus, and plasma therapy is essentially antibody therapy.

Convalescent Plasma - Therapy, Advantages, Side Effects

What is Convalescent plasma therapy?

  • Whenever a person is infected with a virus or bacteria and then get recovered, the immune system of that person developed several products in his body, Which can kill that virus or bacteria 

  • These components mainly include the antibodies which circulate in the bloodstream of that person. 

  • If the blood of the person is collected and plasma which is the yellow part of blood is separated this plasma is called convalescent plasma. 

  • Here Convalescent means a person who is recovered from the disease, now in the yellow part of the blood which contains the antibody 

  • So each plasma can treat another person suffering from the same disease.

  • If the convalescent plasma is given to another person antibodies from the convalescent plasma will kill the pathogen present in his body and help to recover him.

  • So same treatment can be used in the case of covid-19 in this case we have to collect the blood from the person who is recovered from the covid-19 and used treat other infected people
  • Convalescent plasma therapy has made significant contributions to the prevention and treatment of human diseases, but this method is not smooth sailing. In practice, there are a series of problems such as poor efficacy due to low antibody concentration in plasma. 
  • In recent years, convalescent plasma therapy has been used in the treatment of SARS, H5N1 avian influenza, Ebola, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
  • The current convalescent plasma therapy is only used on a small scale, and the large-scale use still depends on the clinical application effect and adverse reactions.
  • In the absence of vaccines and specific therapeutic drugs, convalescent plasma therapy is still an exploratory treatment method.

Advantages of Convalescent Plasma therapy :
  • Convalescent Plasma therapy is the best alternative for the treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Convalescent plasma therapy may help people recover from COVID-19.
  • Convalescent plasma therapy has been used in the treatment of SARS, H5N1 avian influenza, Ebola.
  • Convalescent plasma was used for a variety of viral infections.
  • This therapy directly neutralizes the pathogen and reduces the viral number.
  • By this therapy, we can safely and effectively reduce respiratory viral loads and patient mortality.
  • Convalescent plasma therapy is passive immunotherapy that uses specific antibodies to treat critical diseases. 
  • Convalescent plasma therapy has rapid action and is less resistant to drugs as compared with various antiviral drugs.

Side Effects of Convalescent Plasma Therapy

  • Research shows that some patients receiving convalescent plasma therapy experienced symptoms such as fever, allergy, circulatory overload. 
  • The most common side effect is a mild allergic reaction.
  • Transfusion of plasma can be incompatible ABO blood group types.
  • This therapy is totally based on plasma so there are several chances of disease transmission (such as HIV, HBV, syphilis).
  • Studies have observed that convalescent plasma therapy can reduce the level of cytokines.
  • Plasma therapy may not be used for every patient, depending on the case and the severity of the disease. 
  • There may be a risk of blood transfusions with another pathogen or immune tissue damage. 
  • Because, when someone is given plasma, it does not only contain antibodies, but also many other chemicals. In this case, there can be adverse effects as well.

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