We know that blood cells like White Blood Cells (WBC) and the Red Blood Cells (RBC) along with the Platelets are important aspects for a body to function. Often forgotten is the plasma, as its a part of the blood and plays a key role. Plasma is that fluid that carries the blood components circulating it throughout the body. It carries out a variety of functions in the body, including clotting blood, fighting diseases, and other critical functions.
What is Plasma?
Plasma is that liquid portion of the blood which is 55% of the blood and the rest of the 45% are the white blood cells and the red blood cells. It has slats and enzymes and consists of antibodies that help fight infection plus proteins like albumin and fibrinogen. It contains about 92% of water which contains salts and enzymes. We know blood to be red in colour when we see it but the plasma is pale yellow in colour.
Some of the main functions of the plasma include:
- Helps in maintaining the blood pressure.
- Maintains a proper pH balance in the body that supports the cell function.
- Plasma proteins can also supply amino acids if required by being broken down by macrophages.
- Plasma proteins are also often carried for small molecules, for transport to the tissue or organ that uses it.
We at TABIIB are here to provide you with the details pertaining to donating plasma and how it helps in the COVID-19 pandemic along with the risks involved.
Donating plasma is a noble cause for many as it does a lot of good. Blood plasma is often needed for many medical therapies, treatments, and emergencies especially during COVID-19 pandemic. Treatments include immune system conditions, bleeding, and respiratory disorders as well as blood transfusions and wound healing.
Donating plasma is one of the safest processes in the medical field but they’re side effects that do exist. Plasma is that component of the blood, where blood is transferred from your body to a machine where this machine separates the blood and the plasma. The other components of the blood like the red blood cells are returned back to the body. To replace the plasma in the blood; the red blood cells are mixed with a saline solution and then returned to the body via the machine.
While donating plasma, it’s very common for the donor to experience minor side effects like dehydration and fatigue. Serious side effects like spasms (involuntary contractions of the muscle), vomiting, shock, irregular pulse and cardiac arrest may occur as well, although these are very rare.
How does blood plasma therapy contribute to COVID-19?
The requirement of COVID-19 vaccine is of utmost importance but many expert medical doctors and practitioners are opting to use this old method to fight against this infectious disease. In this medical process, recovered patients from the COVID-19 are required to donate blood to produce antibodies that fight against the virus.
This method has proven to improve the conditions of the patient at the same time research regarding this is going on in the backgrounds to prove its full efficacy for different patients keeping their respective age groups in mind.
Once the blood has been drawn from a previously infected and completely recovered patient, the plasma is separated from the blood that contains the antibodies like SARS-CoV-2. This plasma is then injected into an infected person’s body that will help fight this virus and neutralise it from spreading in the body. As soon as the patient recovers the process is then repeated and the plasma consisting of the antibodies is then used to treat other patients.
One of the most important aspects after the donation of plasma is that the sample is checked for any existing harmful diseases like Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C as well as HIV. Before the treatment, a healthcare professional will examine the patient’s health before undergoing the treatment. During the treatment, the recovered plasma will be attached to the IV tube and supplied to the infected patient in drips. The time taken for this procedure to complete is 2 hours. After the treatment is provided, the patient is kept under observation and is monitored by the healthcare professional. Depending on the body’s response to the treatment the professional will decide if the patient requires hospitalization or not.
Risks involved in Plasma Therapy:
Despite this treatment has proven to be hugely effective with the COVID-19 patients, there are some underlying risks involved that need to be strictly monitored. Some of the risks being:
- During the process of blood transfusion, the risk of transmitting the prevalent virus from the recovered patient is still a possibility. To avoid this, the healthcare professional must closely assess the recovered patient’s blood and health before opting for the blood transfusion.
- Every human body is different from others. They react differently to any kind of treatment or medication. Some may react, some may respond and some might not even react or respond.
- The treatment cannot be useful for some patients as it could result in contracting another infection.
- There is always the risk of contracting the same virus despite the treatment working successfully once.
Multiple studies have reported the use of Covid-19 treatment via plasma therapy to treat severely or critically ill COVID-19 patients. If you’re still unsure about this treatment you could always book a video consultation or appointment with the doctors affiliated on the TABIIB website to know more about Plasma therapy and donation.