Blood plasma patients aren’t too many in fight against COVID-19
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By Dillon Goring
THE ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen persons giving their blood plasma to save the lives of others who have contracted the coronavirus disease.
But there are not too many in Guyana, since it is a voluntary exercise as in the case of voluntary blood donation
During an interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Monday, Director of the National Blood Transfusion Service Dr. Pedro Lewis revealed that the main challenge that is being faced with regard to persons giving blood plasma to save the life of another person is the age factor and the origin / country of the persons infected.
He noted too that education of persons with regard to blood donation to a COVID-19 infected persons is key in helping someone’s recovery from the virus, since many of the persons are first-time donors.

“So far, we have collected about nine plasmas, mostly plasmas with ‘O’ Positive blood type, therefore the person who is receiving the blood plasma has to receive a specific blood type,” Pedro told the Chronicle.

Pedro noted that the blood unit is facing some challenges in not getting the specific blood type to the patient who is infected with the virus.
Dr Lewis also made mention of the fact that the number of persons giving blood plasma aren’t too many, taking blood plasma from another country such as Brazil would be too risky , since the climate change is a major factor .

Additionally, he made the point that there is a bad travel history in Brazil and the infectious disease in that country cannot be dealt with as easily as in Guyana.
The director explained that while the main objective might be to save someone’s life, you don’t want to give them something else such as taking blood plasma from another source.
The plasma we collect needs to have high levels of antibodies to be suitable for use as a treatment.

Tests on the plasma donated so far have shown that men and women who were very ill with the coronavirus are likely to have the highest antibody levels. This is why we are asking for people to come forward if they have had a confirmed virus or antibody test.
Tests also show that men are much more likely to have high antibody levels than women, even if they have only had symptoms of the illness. This is why we are prioritising men for donation.

Men with symptoms will be invited to give blood samples to see if their antibody levels are high enough to become a convalescent plasma donor.
If you are a woman with symptoms only, we ask you not to complete the plasma volunteer form. You can still help NHS patients by becoming a blood donor.

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