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Posted On: 16 March 2021 07:16 pm
Updated On: 16 March 2021 07:25 pm

What is Convalescent Plasma and how does it treat COVID-19?

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Convalescent Plasma Therapy is being used by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to treat COVID-19 patients in Qatar.

“With the help of our clinical teams, you have recovered from COVID-19 infection. However, there are many other patients who are still suffering from this infection and you can help them to recover by donating your plasma. Plasma from one recovered patient can be used to treat one to two infected patients,” HMC said on its brochure for Plasma Donation for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

According to HMC, this how Convalescent Plasma Therapy works and how you can donate plasma:

What is plasma?

Plasma is the liquid part of the blood and where antibodies against infectious diseases are present and are currently used to treat people with the COVID-19, especially those suffering from severe infection.

How my donated plasma helps patients with COVID-19 infection to recover?

While you have COVID-19 infection your body's immune system was fighting this virus by producing a lot of antibodies that are present in your plasma. Those antibodies will act against the virus and reduce its bad effect on the body. When you are in recovery or convalescent period from COVID-19 infection your blood plasma (called convalescent plasma) will still contain a large amount of those antibodies. When this convalescent plasma will be given to other patients who are still suffering from the virus especially those with low immunity will help them to fight the virus and recover more quickly. Every single donation of plasma can benefit one to two COVID-19 patients.

When can I donate my plasma?

You can donate your plasma when you completed two weeks after you have been released from the isolation facilities or the hospitals where you were admitted. To be eligible for donating your plasma you must be fully recovered, and you should be symptom-free for 14 days after discharge or the last negative test for COVID-19 whichever is longer. Or 28 days after diagnosis.

Who can donate plasma?

To be eligible for donation, you must also meet all the other standard requirements for plasma donation including:

  • Was infected with COVID-19 and recovered.
  • Gender: Male.
  • Age must not be less than 18 years.
  • Weight should not be less than 50 kg.
  • In good health on the day of donation.
  • Physical rest and plenty of sleep before you donate.

How is my plasma going to be collected?

A Technician will collect your plasma through a procedure called “Plasmapheresis” or automated plasma separation and the plasma will be separated and collected in a separate bag and all the remaining blood will be returned to you. The procedure is simple and safe and is performed under medical supervision.

If I meet the criteria for donating COVID-19 convalescent plasma, how often can I donate?

You can donate more than one time, but the maximum frequency will be 1-2 times a week.

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure of plasma donation will take approximately 45 to 60 minutes, including the time you will need to finish your registration and initial assessment.

Is the procedure safe?

The procedure is quite safe and painless. You will only feel like needle prick pain and you will not need any anesthesia. You will be attended by a very expert nursing team. All precautionary measures will be taken during the procedure to ensure your safety. Unwanted effects are rare and when they occur, they are very mild e.g. dizziness.

What is the procedure for donating my plasma?

The CDC Plasma Convalescent Unit team will arrange for your visit to the Plasma Donation Unit which is located in Blood Donor Center (opposite to HMC Specialty Surgical Center).

To be sure the donation will not affect your health, the Plasma Convalescent Unit will evaluate you first and will take some blood samples.

If you are fit to donate you will be contacted and given an appointment for the donation.

Where can I donate?

Blood Donor Center - Opposite to HMC Specialty Surgical Center (exact location will be provided when contacted)

How can I arrange for registering myself for plasma donation?

You can contact the team from Communicable Disease Center (CDC) using the following contact:

Communicable Disease Center Doha - Qatar +974 40254003

Source: HMC - Communicable Disease Center

Cover image: Shutterstock