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Convalescent Plasma Therapy: Which Patients Are More Suitable?

Convalescent Plasma Therapy: Which Patients Are More Suitable?

Convalescent plasma therapy is an experimental therapy used to treat critically ill COVID patients. No drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically to treat COVID-19. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood. People who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies to the disease in their blood. The blood from these recovered COVID people is called convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is given to people with severe COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus and to moderately ill patients from becoming sicker and experiencing severe COVID-19 complications. Which Patients Are Treated With Convalescent Therapy? Few COVID-19 patients become very sick and do not respond to other treatments or drugs. They often develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which requires mechanical assistance, like a ventilator, to breathe. Patients at higher risk of serious illness due to chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, have weakened immune systems. This Therapy is also considered for family members or health care workers who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to prevent them from getting COVID-19 potentially. Risks Blood and plasma are used to treat many conditions, and they are usually very safe. The risk of contracting COVID from receiving convalescent plasma therapy has not been tested yet. Researchers believe that the risk is very low because the plasma donor has fully recovered from the infection. Convalescent plasma therapy carries the risk of:

  • Allergic reactions

  • Lung damage and difficulty breathing

  • Transmission of infections, including HIV and hepatitis B and C

The risk of these infections is very low because donated blood must meet specific requirements outlined by the FDA. Before donated blood can be used, it is tested for safety. It then goes through a process to separate blood cells so that all that's left is plasma with antibodies.

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