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One donation can save up to three lives

22 Apr 2020

Convalescent plasma taken from a recovered COVID-19 blood donor can save three COVID-19 patients’ lives,  according to Dr Zainab Salem al Fanah al Araimi, director of the blood banking services department, Ministry of Health. 

Often termed ‘liquid gold’, Dr Zainab told Muscat Daily that not all COVID-19 recovered patients are eligible to donate plasma. “We follow the general donor criteria while selecting. This comprises prior diagnosis of a COVID-19 recovered person documented by a laboratory test. The person has to be between 18 and 60 years, must weigh above 50kg and should not have any chronic disease. 

“The most important aspect is that the person who has recovered should be completely asymptomatic 14 days post recovery. The molecular test after this period of recovery should be negative for COVID-19 to be eligible for donation.”  

Dr Zainab said that the whole donation process using the plasmapheresis instrument takes 40 to 60 minutes. “The person can donate again after ten days.” 

She said that the blood bank wants all blood groups’ donors to donate the convalescent plasma. “The plasma must be identical to the patient’s blood group except for AB blood donors who can donate plasma to all recipients.” Dr Zainab said that convalescent plasma was used in the past for treatment during many pandemics including Ebola and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and it gave effective results.  

“The treatment is based on the concept that the plasma collected from COVID-19 patients containing antibodies can boost the immunity of the patients who are critically ill and hence help them recover faster. Until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, this convalescent plasma could give someone the best possible chance in fighting the illness.”

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