The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has started using blood plasma therapy to treat some Covid-19 cases at its Communicable Disease Center (CDC).
“Some of the cases who received the blood plasma treatment showed better results than others,” CDC medical director Dr Muna al-Maslamani said, adding the results are mixed.
Blood plasma has been used for many years in the treatment of diseases such as Sars, Mers and the swine flu (H1N1) and the results were variable in the recovery of those cases, she said.
“With the spread of the Covid-19, the blood plasma taken from people who recover from the disease is used to treat critical conditions confirmed to be infected with the virus,” the official said.
Dr al-Maslamani noted that 11 recovered Covid-19 patients have become plasma donors in Qatar. The state-of-the-art plasma center was opened in the CDC in co-operation with the Blood Transfusion Department at the HMC.
“Though the effectiveness of any conclusive treatment for Covid-19 is yet to be established, and despite limited number of patients who received plasma treatment in an experimental manner as part of scientific studies, the results appear encouraging, pending scientific studies on larger numbers of patients,” she said.
The plasma treatment technique was used in some scientific studies empirically in several countries on limited numbers of patients, and the initial results appear to be promising.
“To confirm these results locally, the CDC has initiated, in co-operation with other parties, the start of a clinical scientific study to test the effectiveness of this treatment, and the results of this study will be published once it is completed,” Dr al-Maslamani said.
The new plasma center at the CDC is equipped with the latest devices that separate the plasma from the blood directly, and simultaneously return the other components to the donor.
The new facility also has plasma preservation devices, which ensures proper storage for long-term use.
Speaking about blood plasma, Dr al-Maslamani said the blood consists of the liquid part called the plasma and the cellular part that includes white and red blood cells and platelets.
“The plasma contains water, proteins, carbohydrates and other components, including antibodies. The plasma can be separated from the blood in different ways.
“The blood, donated for this treatment technique, contains the antibodies that were produced in the plasma of the recovered person to help patients who are still undergoing treatment to enhance their resistance and help their recovery from the virus”.
Referring to drugs and other technologies that are currently used in Qatar to treat Covid-19 patients, Dr al-Maslamani said most types of medications that have been used in scientific studies and in other countries to treat the disease are available in Qatar.
“These include but are not limited to Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin and Tamiflu to name a few".
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