Blood transfusion from those who have recovered may help in COVID-19 treatment
New Delhi : Virus fighting antibodies present in the blood of people who have defeated the coronavirus can be used for the treatment of other COVID-19 patients, found a research.
The research describes the technique – convalescent plasma therapy – as a promising option to save lives till a vaccine is found.
The therapy had consistent and safe effects on a small group of 10 patients in China who were critically ill but began to show significant improvements after a single dose, the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reported on Tuesday.
"All symptoms in the 10 patients, especially fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain, disappeared or largely improved within 1 day to 3 days upon CP transfusion," said the report. The study was done on the patients with a median age of 52 years.
The study was published without embargo by PNAS because of its potential to save lives. Around 74000 people have lost their lives worldwide.
Meanwhile, till the time doctors are trying to make a vaccine for coronavirus, the experts have suggested the use of therapy to minimize the rate of fatalities.
The transfusion raised lymphocyte counts, improved liver and lung function, and reduced inflammation, found the study. Lung lesions and other severe symptoms abated within the next week.
During the test on 10 patients, no serious reactions were seen on the patients.
"It’s an excellent idea, plasma has been used to prevent and treat infections since the 1890s. We still give immunoglobulin IgE serum to prevent rabies in people with animal bites, and varicella-zoster immunoglobulin to pregnant women who have been exposed to chickenpox, which leads to pregnancy complications for the mother and her unborn child. It’s not used for pneumonias and chest infections anymore - we use antibiotics - but it was used with success to treat influenza during the Spanish Flu pandemic," said Dr T Jacob John, professor emeritus and head of the department of virology at Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.