The COVID-19 pandemic rages on and scientists and medical experts from across the world are looking at various treatment options to give COVID-19 patients a better chance at recovery and survival. One such treatment option which is proving to be promising – and cost effective – is the use of recovered COVID-19 patients’ convalescent plasma.
Following extensive research, the South African National Blood Services (SANBS) as well as the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) in April received approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee to start clinical trials to determine the efficacy of convalescent plasma to combat the virus. The trials have been active since May and the SANBS has now urged donors to come forward to help further their research.
What is convalescent plasma?
Convalescent plasma is plasma collected from the blood of patients who have recovered from a virus, in this instance SARS-CoV-2. The plasma contains vital antibodies needed to fight off the infection.
How would my convalescent plasma help an infected patient?
In patients exhibiting moderate to mild symptoms, their immune system is severely compromised as it battles to fight off the virus. By introducing convalescent plasma from a recovered patient, it strengthens the infected patient’s immune system, possibly leading to an improvement in their overall condition.
** NOTE: research into the effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy is still in its early stages and results on this treatment method are still mixed. The treatment is also not intended for critically ill patients as early data has shown it could potentially be more harmful.
How do I get involved?
If you’ve been infected with and have recovered from COVID-19, and meet the following requirements, you can register as a convalescent plasma donor on the SANBS donor page.
- You must have a previous lab-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
- You must be symptom-free for at least 28 days.
- You must be between the ages of 18 and 65.
- You must weigh more than 55 kg.
To register as a convalescent plasma donor, you can fill in the form on the SANBS donor page.
For more info on the process and requirements, you can contact the SANBS on 0800 11 90 31