Context: The Delhi government will set up a unique plasma bank for coronavirus patients at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).
More about news:
- Delhi was among the first few states to get ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) approval to conduct trials with plasma therapy, which is still at trial stage.
- The plasma trial is examining if the plasma containing antibodies from recovered patients is beneficial to others as well.
What is Plasma in Blood?
- Blood plasma is the yellow liquid part of blood.
- About 55% of our blood is plasma, and the remaining 45% are red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets that are suspended in the plasma.
- Plasma is about 92% water. It also contains 7% vital proteins such as albumin, gamma globulin and anti-hemophilic factor, and 1% mineral salts, sugars, fats, hormones and vitamins.
- Blood serum is blood plasma without fibrinogen or the other clotting factors (that is, whole blood minus both the cells and the clotting factors).
- Convalescent plasma (CP) and fresh frozen plasma (FFP): CP is extracted from a Covid patient who has recovered, and FFP from a person who has no exposure to the particular disease — to serve as a control.
Plasma serves four important functions in our bodies:
- Helps maintain blood pressure and volume.
- Supply critical proteins for blood clotting and immunity.
- Carries electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to our muscles.
- Helps to maintain a proper pH balance in the body, which supports cell function.
What is a Plasma Donation?
- In hospitals, blood plasma is extracted either for medical therapy (plasmapheresis) or diagnostics tests (clinical chemistry, immunology) .
- Tubes of blood are spun very fast in a centrifuge. The blood cells go to the bottom of the tubes. The plasma is poured into another container.
- In a plasma-only donation, the liquid portion of the donor’s blood is separated from the cells.
- The donor’s red blood cells and platelets are then returned to the donor along with some saline.
- Donated plasma is frozen within 24 hours of being donated to preserve its valuable clotting factors.
- It can be stored for up to one year and thawed for transfusion to a patient when needed.
Utility of Blood Plasma:
- Plasma is commonly given to trauma, burn and shock patients, as well as people with severe liver disease or multiple clotting factor deficiencies.
- It helps boost the patient’s blood volume, which can prevent shock, and helps with blood clotting.
- Pharmaceutical companies use plasma to make treatments for conditions such as immune deficiencies and bleeding disorders.
About plasma bank: The plasma bank extracts and stores plasma from people who have recovered from Covid-19 and give it to someone suffering from the disease.
- Donor criteria: A healthy person between the age group of 18-60 years and with no comorbidities can donate his/her plasma.
- He/she should have recovered at least three weeks before donating and tested negative for Covid-19 twice.
- Consent must be taken.
Plasma therapy (plasmapheresis) : Once a person contracts the virus, the blood produces antibodies and certain cells ‘remember’ the antigen and produce antibodies when they come in contact with the same virus again.
- The results so far show that the therapy is not as effective on critical patients, but those with moderate symptoms appear to be responding well.
- CP transfusion showed more improvement than FFP.
- Benefits so far:
- Respiratory rate improved:
- The normal respiration rate for an adult at rest is 12 to 20 breaths per minute. A coronavirus patient’s respiratory rate can soar to 35.36 breaths per minute.
- Post administering plasma, the respiratory rate improved substantially with a drop of 8.22 in the first 48 hours and a drop of 14.92 in 7 days.
- Oxygen saturation levels improved:
- Normal O2 saturation rate is 95%.
CP was administered on patients whose O2 Saturation level was 85% and improvement of 6.61% seen within 48 hours.