When the Spanish flu pandemic spread, a few hospitals made use of a potential experimental treatment for the life-threatening infection: the blood of survivors. Cases who received blood from Spanish flu survivors had a much lower death rate than the others.
Health officials are considering blood plasma from coronavirus survivors could help decrease the severity of the infection, and maybe it could be a possible treatment for COVID-19.
The immune system develops antibodies to fight an infection that binds to parts of the virus and prevent the disease, and it’s called active immunity. The initial antibody production can take about a week or two. Still, once that has happened, the immune system will be able to respond to the next exposure to the virus quickly. Active immunity can last decades for some diseases.
Convalescent plasma is considered as a type of passive immunity. Although it can produce antibodies immediately, the proteins will last for a short time.
The theory behind plasma therapy is that the blood of patients who have recently recovered from coronavirus will be valuable in neutralizing antibodies against the pathogen.
Some studies suggest that infusions of this blood can boost the immune systems of patients. Also, it can provide a form of immunization to those who haven’t catch it yet.
Due to the new researches, 19 clinical trials of patient plasma are already in progress in different countries.
But finding suitable donors is not as easy as it might seem. While there are more than 400,000 people around the world who have recovered from COVID-19, the rapid variety rate of the virus as it has passed between countries means that donors have to be local.
Studies show that that you need antibodies that originated from infection to the same strain, which is circulating in your area.
Besides, suitable donors must have no secondary conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, and they should have a very high density of antibodies in their blood.
One of the other problems is that it will be challenging for scientists to prove that convalescent plasma has healing benefits conclusively.
The findings raise hopes that donated blood from recently recovered patients could be used to find a cure for the coronavirus disease. Therefore, many countries are racing to put this to the test.