MOH News

Over 100 COVID-19 Patients Benefited from Blood Plasma Treatment
03 July 2020

MOH stated that over 100 patients with COVID-19 have been injected with blood plasma taken from recovered individuals. This came within a study in which several top researchers and research centers in the Kingdom participated.  More than 512 recovered individuals have donated their blood plasma. This large number of donors reflects the interest of society in studies and research. MOH pointed out that plasma is a blood derivative regularly used in hospitals as a daily routine procedure in intensive care units and operation rooms. ‏

Plasma contains many components that help the human body recover from infection. Among these components are antibacterial antibodies. This means that the plasma of a patient who recovered from COVID-19 will contain the antibodies against it. These antibodies will act as the first line of defense in the face of the infection in the absence of effective treatments and vaccines. This treatment has been used in China and other countries during the past few months; however, its efficacy has not been tested by documented clinical studies.

MOH explained that the study was approved in early April. The research team started its mission to expand the range of health facilities capable of participating in the study from all health sectors in the Kingdom. They include MOH, National Guard hospitals, and King Faisal Specialist Hospital, in addition to hospitals of the Armed Forces and universities, and John Hopkins Healthcare (Aramco), as well as the private sector. The research team is constantly working to expand the scope of study in all regions of the Kingdom to prepare health facilities that wish to join and participate in this research.

MOH explained that this research is divided into two main parts: The first is about attracting donors who have already recovered from the novel Coronavirus. They can register directly on the study's official website or communicate via Twitter, email or phone. Many people (over 14,000) interested in the study have contacted the official introductory website of the study. They included individuals who live inside and outside the Kingdom.

Furthermore, a large number of people have donated their plasma in the main regions of study (Riyadh, the Eastern Region, Jeddah, and Madinah). According to the study protocols, a set of safety measures must be taken. Moreover, the details of the diagnosis and medical history of donors are recorded, as well as their vital signs. A preliminary test of antibodies is also performed on them. Once these procedures are successfully applied, the process of donating the plasma takes place accordingly. These procedures mainly aim to ensure the safety of both the donor and the receiver of the blood plasma.  Afterwards, the plasma is processed to ensure it is free of microbes and then it becomes ready to use.

The second part of the research is about transferring plasma to patients who meet the conditions specified in the study. They receive a clinical follow up and have blood tests and medical imaging performed on them to assess the extent of their bodies’ utilization of the plasma. MOH stressed that this study’s results are only preliminary and have shown no signs of a risk. This treatment is a safe procedure that could be very useful for patients, especially in early stages of the infection. However, the research requires some time in order to confirm the results of the study. They will then be assessed and published in the near future.

MOH added that the study has involved 19 hospitals from different health sectors in the Kingdom to date. Furthermore, many other hospitals have expressed a strong desire to participate in this study.
It should be noted that the amount of plasma donated depends on the weight and health of the donor. Usually an amount of 400-700 milliliters is collected. This amount is treated with a special technique in blood banks to get rid of microbes. The amount then gets equally divided into two plasma packs, and each pack is considered a single treatment does. The patient receives one dose per day. Doses can be given to patients on a daily basis, for a maximum of five days.

Last Update : 06 July 2020 05:06 PM
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