What is Plasma Therapy for COVID-19?
- Plasma Therapy involves transfusion of antibodies from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 into a critical patient.
- The therapy is based on the principle that the blood of a recovered patient is rich in antibodies needed to combat COVID-19.
- Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins produced by a human body and used by the immune system to identify and neutralise foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses. These antibodies are expected to help critical patients recover.
- It is a way of artificially inducing passive immunity.
How does plasma therapy work?
- Blood plasma, a yellowish liquid is a component of blood and consists of protein, minerals and antibodies.
- If someone has recovered from COVID-19 there are chances that the person’s body has developed antibodies that helped him/her to fight the virus.
- The same antibodies, if infused into a critical patient may provide passive immunity and help in the recovery process.
Why in News?
- The Central Government has dropped plasma therapy from Covid treatment protocol.
- The decision came on the basis of recommendations of experts from AIIMS, ICMR-COVID-19 National Task Force, and Joint Monitoring Group of the Union Health Ministry citing its ineffectiveness and inappropriate use in several cases.
- The plasma therapy has not been found effective in reducing the progression to severe disease nor has a decrease in the fatality rate been observed. The development comes just days after a group of medical practitioners wrote Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan cautioning against the ‘irrational and non-scientific use’ of convalescent plasma for COVID-19.