Doha, 7 June, 2020: More than 170 COVID-19 patients in Qatar have received Convalescent Plasma (CP) treatment in Qatar so far, half of whom showed improved clinical symptoms, and eventually recovered.
CP treatment involves taking plasma from the blood of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and transfusing it into patients currently battling the virus. As people fight the COVID-19 virus, their body produces antibodies to attack it. Once a person recovers, the antibodies stay in their body to fight the virus if it returns. Plasma from one recovered patient can be used to treat one to two infected patients.
A plasma donation center has been set up at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Communicable Disease Center. The center has been equipped with the latest devices that work to separate the plasma from the blood directly and then simultaneously return the other components to the donor, and this process takes about 45 minutes. In addition, the center contains plasma preservation devices of 80 degrees below zero, ensuring its suitability for the longest possible period of time.
CP treatment is currently being offered to severe cases. As a result of this treatment, most patients exhibited higher level of blood oxygen and lymphocytes, undetectable viral levels and improved chest scans.
“Giving convalescent plasma to very sick patients under mechanical ventilator or those receiving Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) treatment, resulted in a 50% recovery rate. Our target now is to start early and offer it to patient with a moderate COVID-19 infection, before they reach the stage of requiring intensive care or intubation,” said Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, Medical Director, Communicable Disease Center.
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to recovered patients who have donated their plasma so far, and we are urging more recovered patients to come forward to donate plasma, which is for a noble cause. Your simple act of kindness is saving lives,” added Dr. Al-Moslemani.
According to the new discharge protocol, most patients with COVID-19 in Qatar will be discharged from healthcare facilities fourteen days after their first positive COVID-19 test. After 28 days, they are eligible for donating the plasma subject to laboratory tests, to ensure that enough antibodies are present in their plasma and that it is free from any infectious disease.
“I got infected with COVID-19, so did my whole family. After recovering, I decided to donate my plasma on the hope that I may be able to help other patients recover,” said Mr. Mohamed Abdel Salam, Plasma Donor.
Another donor, Mr. Abdul Latheef Nattakaram said “I donated my plasma on the hope that it may save a life. I urge all recovered patients to do the same.”