Covid-19: Plasma therapy found effective, three indo Americans recovering, says report

Finally a decade old method used for containing viruses has become successful in the case of coronavirus pandemic too.Technically, it is called the “passive antibody therapy” and it involves collecting antibodies from the blood of a person who have recovered from the viral diseases. This decade-old method was used to fight SARS-CoV-2 infections too.

In this treatment method, the antibodies from a Covid-19 survivor is collected and processed to separate the serum. This is a part of the blood that has the antibodies. These are molecules that “learn” to fight specific pathogens — such as viruses — once they have been confronted with them. The ultimate purpose is to inject a person with a current infection — or to someone who is more susceptible to a SARS-CoV-2 infection — with the antibodies from someone who has just surpassed a similar infection. This will help the immune system to fight or to prevent the disease.

It is reported that using this method five patients including three Indian Americans  — IT professional Rohan Bavadekar, Dr. Lavanga Veluswamy and Sushm Singh, who were in a critical condition at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston — part of the Baylor College of Medicine — have been treated, said Dr. Ashok Balasubramanyam, vice president of academic integration and associate dean of academic affairs at the Baylor College of Medicine. Press Trust of India reported.

According to hospital sources, they are showing positive signs of recovery and waiting for more donors for new rounds of plasma transfusion.

“Vaccines for broad use would take about 12-18 months, and we don’t have time to wait,while those vaccines are being developed, what can we do? (Convalescent plasma) therapy definitely is one of those things we can actually pursue,” ” said Lola Adepoju, a health services researcher at the University of Houston College of Medicine by PTI.

The Food and Drug Administration is yet to approve the treatment but is allowing initial clinical trials. Because those trials are limited, doctors nationally can also request for the FDA’s permission to use the treatment for severe COVID-19 cases.

As per a new study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, in Baltimore, MD, and from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York, NY, had last month come to a consensus that this technique could successfully be used to treat COVID-19.“Deployment of this option requires no research or development,” says co-author Dr. Arturo Casadevall, an immunologist.“It could be deployed within a couple of weeks, since it relies on standard blood-banking practices,” he suggests.

In their paper, Dr. Casadevall and Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski had argued that passive antibody therapy can help prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections in those that are at high risk and also help treat existing infections. The researchers think that the above method is feasible only with the collaboration and active involvement of individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

The different ways in which these antibodies work are as follows:-

Viral Neutralization – Here, the antibody attaches to the virus, killing it

Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity – Here, the antibody stimulates a specialized immune cell that targets the virus and attacks its membrane. This will cause the virus to disintegrate

Antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis – Here, the antibody stimulates a specialized immune cell to target the virus and finally “consumes” it

Now, Dr. Ashok Balasubramanyam confirms that the claims made by Dr.Casadevall and Dr,Liise-anne Pirofski are true as according to him the patients who were treated in his hospital is partially  recovered from the disease. PTI reported.