Chinese medical experts have suggested that severely ill COVID-19 patients could benefit from infusions of blood plasma collected from people who have recovered.
Plasma is a light yellow liquid component of blood that carries salts and enzymes with its primary purpose being to transport nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the parts of the body that need it.
Amid the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, doctors have continued to explore treatment options, including the convalescent plasma (CP) therapy, which has gained attention in recent times.
In a new study, scientists in China found that CP therapy might be of help to severely ill COVID-19 patients after a total of 10 infected survivors showed improvement.
Two medical teams working at separate hospitals in the Asian country had given antibody-rich plasma to 15 severely ill patients and were said to have recorded “striking improvements” in many of them.
In one pilot study, Wuhan doctors gave “convalescent plasma” to 10 severely ill patients and found that their virus levels dropped — lowering symptoms like short breath, fever, and coughs.
In a report published by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS) on Monday, Xiaoming Yang from the National Engineering Technology Research Center for Combined Vaccines in Wuhan said a larger randomised trial was needed to confirm the findings.
Another team also gave convalescent plasma to five patients and their subjects responded after the infusions, getting off the ventilators that had been keeping them alive within 10 days.
The development, according to the researchers, raises hopes that donated blood from recovered patients could be used to boost the immune systems of more vulnerable people and help them fight the infection.