Blood plasma as an antidote?


During the Spanish Flu in 1918, The medical researchers published many reports illustrating how transmissions of blood plasma cells obtained from any infectious disease survivors may have contributed a 70% rebate in death amid rigorously ill patients. Moreover, in 1934, a measles outbreak occurred – Measles is a contagious infectious disease caused by the measles virus. Followed by widespread vaccination, the invention, and licensure of the measles vaccine was developed officially in 1963. However, before the vaccine, doctors and medical researchers used the serum and in simple words, plasma immunization to treat 62 students at Pennsylvania boarding school. Only 3 out of 62 students diagnosed with the measles virus and all were mild cases.

Furthermore, Convalescent Plasma was used to treat patients during Ebola and swine flu outbreaks. Treatment with plasma-derived therapy from patients who recovered from the infectious viruses from Ebola and Swine flu played a crucial role to treat severe cases during that period.

However, as the cases of Covid-19 are soaring swiftly, the world is in a state of shock. There is no uncertainty regarding the extremity of the pandemic. However, the epicenter of the epidemic, the Chinese city of Wuhan, is now free of infected patients with recovering up to 70 per cent out of 80,000 patients. Accordingly, China has set its first foot in curing the populace with plasma cell immunization; they have got approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Chinese doctors endeavored the first COVID-19 treatments using “convalescent serum” known as donated plasma from survivors of the Coronavirus. Health officials in China also urged patients who have newly recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood so that plasma cells can be extricated to treat severe cases.

The head of the World Health Organization emergency program (WHO) has recently stated, as medical researchers are struggling to invent a vaccine for COVID – 19, Convalescent Plasma would be a great idea and essential to pursue this old but yet effective way to treat coronavirus patients. We need a vital push to treat severe cases by plasma cell immunization. Moreover, infectious patients who have recovered from a disease create permanent antibodies generated by their immune system floating in blood plasma. For converting plasma into an effective drug, the plasma is collected from patients’ blood (who are newly recovered), tested for sanctuary, and filtered to isolate those protecting antibodies. When we inject to new patients – Plasma Cells which is also known as Convalescent Plasma although plasma immunization also has a history and this is not a new theory to medical literature.

However, there are some challenges and essential questions to concur with: 1) Can plasma help to treat sick patients who already got infected with COVID-19? Theuse of convalescent plasma has been used in outbreaks of other pandemics such as H1N1, Ebola and also in SARS before vaccine out, as there is no vaccine out for Coronavirus to treat patients and FDA also approved the use of plasma from newly recovered patients to treat severe cases infected by a coronavirus. 2) Is plasma cell immunization is being used in China?Chinese doctors have started attempting plasma immunization after the first COVID-19 treatment using the convalescent serum, and now China sent tons of plasma to Italy to control the situation.3)Are there any side-effects for the donors? Convalescent plasma is safe, while it will be screened for pathogens and blood typed, so you don’t have a transfusion reaction.4) Will that require more clinical trials?Patients have to participate in more clinical trials to obtain access to convalescent plasma, while this would not be available for all patients in potential need. While clinical trials will be conducted, As FDA stated that convalescent plasma use in patients with some severe or immediately life-threatening symptoms.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global mortality toll from the pandemic has spanned 22,340 with more than 503,219 cases confirmed worldwide and millions vulnerable. At the time of writing, United States has recorded 85,612 cases with 1301 deaths; the staggering rise in the circumstances of the superpower is not only troubling for the resource-less and developing countries, but it is an initiation of a catastrophe.

Pakistan has recorded up to 1200 cases with nine deaths. In Pakistan, streets, parks, and shops are deserted, millions are indoors after the lockdown and curfew imposed by the government to mitigate the coronavirus threat.

Medical researchers are still finding from where it was first originated to make patterns to invent a vaccine to cure coronavirus patients although making a vaccine in months isn’t easy, china is, now, using natural defense mechanisms which is plasma cell immunization to treat severe coronavirus cases. Pakistan government officials should also seek help from Chinese health officials regarding plasma cell immunization as china did this procedure many times to handle severe cases through this natural defense mechanism back during the SARS outbreak.

Pakistan’s government should take every health official onboard and make arrangements to start trials for patients with severe conditions as the human body’s first line of defense against any infectious disease is an antibody called immunoglobulin. However, New York’s best health agencies are working on this and health researchers are hopeful.

Faran Khalid
Faran Khalid
Faran Manj from Faisalabad, Pakistan. A researcher and social media activist, currently studying bachelors of legislative law. I have done several projects on current affairs for my university's journal


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