COVID-19 CP therapy needed to treat patients

TEHRAN, Jul. 02 (MNA) – During the science promotion meeting organized by Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation, prominent figures discussed the convalescent plasma (CP) therapy to treat COVID-19 patients.

For this purpose, Islamic countries need to ramp up infrastructures.

MSTF Media reports:

President of Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Hassan Abolghasemi, said “COVID-19 surprised the world. For almost all diseases there is a protocol according to which we act, but we had no protocol for COVID-19.”

Although there was no protocol for this disease, “we had to decrease the mortality rate, because this virus is perilous to vulnerable groups like the elderly, the obese people, and those who suffer diabetes,” he added.

He said the body gets automatically immunized when exposed to any virus. The immune system produces antibodies.

“If we infuse the antibody taken from the recovered patient into the body of an infected subject, the critically ill patients show signs of improvement,” he continued.

“Using convalescent plasma therapy was successful for treating diseases like Ebola and SARS,” he said.

Prior to our achievements in deploying this method to treat Coronavirus, “the Chinese used it in case studies on 10 patients at most,” he remarked.

He then talked about the meeting in which they made decisions on how the private sector can help to the progression of this approach.

“So, the private sector has been a great help regarding this issue. We received 400.000 liter of Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. This is to be done at least 28 days after the patient has recovered,” he added.

Abolghasemi said “the received plasmas were tested and we made sure that it is safe. So, we began to infuse it into critically ill patients in the middle of March.”

“We constantly shared our COVID-19 convalescent plasma findings with the world on the internet,” he said.

“In our experiment, we transfused 500 cc plasma to 50 critically ill patients and some of them survived,” he said.

According to the data collected from our case study, “we concluded that deploying convalescent plasma can decrease the mortality rate up to 20%. Moreover, it can be used to prevent exacerbation of patients’ situation and their getting admitted to the ICU,” he said.

Asked if CP can cure COVID-19 completely, he replied: “When using a new approach regarding this matter, first of all we have to make sure that it is safe. Now we are certain that CP is safe.”

“The next step is proving that the new treatment is efficacious. This depends on the quality of the plasma donors’ antibodies. Therefore, we are not yet certain that CP is 100% the ultimate cure to the disease,” he added.

Next, Peyman Eshghi, Managing Director of Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization (IBTO), stated that “in an atmosphere of fear and dread, people adopt a rather negative approach in doing what they used to do previously.”

“So, people all over the world started to get more reluctant to donate blood since the outbreak of COVID-19. This resulted in a shortage of plasma” he said.

“Another obstacle is that direct transfusion of the plasma of previously-pregnant women may cause allergic reactions in receivers, so they are excluded from donating plasma,” he added.

Moreover, some groups like “patients with diabetes or high bold pressure might harm themselves by donating plasma,” he continued.

“We asked many recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma. Although we have received a good quantity of plasma, we need it 10 times more than what we have now,” he said.

Eshghi said “we have to ask all the COVID-19 patients worldwide to donate plasma.”

“The receivers of CP should not be worried about the side effects,” he remarked.

He stated that “up to the middle of May, 15000 recovered COVID-19 patients donated plasma, from which 5000 were proved to be completely safe.

“However, we began to use this method sooner, so we are one step forward in Iran,” he added.

Asked if IBTO has any plans to convey plasma to other countries, Eshghi replied: “we can for sure share our experiences, but conveying plasma and blood to other countries, except in rare cases, has strict rules and limitations.”

He then touched upon his experience in a recent international conference on the challenges COVID-19 has caused in blood banks.

“I talked about Iran’s use of CP for confronting COVID-19 in this conference. In Egypt the equipment needed for plasmapheresis is being provided, so that they can use this method as well.”

Next, Abdol Majid Cheraghali, faculty member at Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, was asked whether CP therapy can enter the phase of vaccination as it is believed to improve the immune system.

“Vaccine, serving as active immunization, stimulates the immune system to produce antibody. On the contrary, CP transfusion is passive immunization, because rather than being secreted inside one’s body, it is taken from someone else,” he replied.

He said “500 mL plasma is infused to each patient, from which only 2 or 3 grams is effective.”

“We aim to get the pure 2/3 grams of antibody through some pharmaceutical processing– a goal not achieved yet,” he added.

According to Cheraghali, the advantage of CP therapy in COVID-19 is that it is “immediately available.”

Emphasizing that donating plasma does not harm the donator, he said that “each human being can donate plasma 100 times in a year.”

He said “considering the number of COVID-19 infected people worldwide, 6 to 7 million recovered patients can donate plasma right now.”

He concluded that “we can share the COVID-19 CP therapy experience with different Islamic countries.”

At the end of the meeting, Eshghi said “IBTO cooperates with WHO in EMRO region. That’s where we can convey the experiences of CP therapy.”

“We are ready for solidarity meeting regarding this issue in the region,” he added.

They concluded that as a way to show gratitude for regaining their health, all recovered COVID-19 patients need to donate plasma.


News Code 160463


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