IT IS important to control the extreme worldwide spread of COVID-19 and such a goal is high on agenda of governments around the world. There were more than 10 million people across the world infected with COVID-19 as of July 7, with more than half a million death having been reported. There might be many more death caused by COVID-19 that have not been reported and recorded.
Many research groups are working to come up with reliable treatment options, with many countries spending a huge amount of money on COVID-19 research. But there has not been anything available that is reliable till date.
There has been no real success in this area although various promises based on available date have been around the corner. One potential treatment for COVID-19 is to use convalescent plasma therapy.
Convalescent plasma therapy is basically a transfusion of plasma from the blood of a person who has recovered from a disease — COVID-19, in the case at hand — into a patient still battling with COVID-19. This therapy now appears to be very optimistic and is used worldwide.
A number of published research show that in supplement to antiviral or antimicrobial drugs, the convalescent plasma therapy could be an applicable option as the therapy has already convinced researchers that it is safe. It improves clinical symptoms and reduces the mortality rate.
A number of important findings regarding the therapy from a number of research studies in progress or about to start globally is: (1) in China and South Korea, observational analyses involving 27 patients aged 30–75 years have reported recovery from COVID-19 and lessening in viral load after the convalescent plasma therapy; (2) researchers in the United States have initiated a nationwide project with about 600 COVID-19 patients who have been treated with plasma therapy with an acceptable success; (3) the United Kingdom is also reported to have begun treating COVID-19 patients using plasma therapy; and (4) Dhaka Medical College Hospital has begun accumulating plasma from COVID-19 convalesced donors. Recently, plasma therapy has been used to cure a COVID-19 patient effectively in Bangladesh at Evercare Hospital Dhaka. Furthermore, plasma therapy test on 45 COVID-19 patients now being cared for in Dhaka Medical College Hospital is in progress.
All this appears to substantiate the usefulness and efficacy of plasma therapy in treating seriously ill COVID-19 patients. It has already been documented that symptoms of COVID-19 are variable and they may include fatigue, weakness, muscle aches, high temperature, dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea or nausea.
The treatment of COVID-19 with such variable symptoms has been restricted to general supportive care such as stay at home protocol, social distancing, staying well hydrated, over-the-counter symptom control with paracetamol to lower temperature, dexamethasone that shows promises in treating COVID-19, oxygen therapy with provision of critical ventilation as no approved therapies or vaccines are available.
Dr Abdul Rob is a professor of science and technology at Sylhet Metropolitan University. His co-authors are Dr Abdul Hoque, a professor, Dr ASM Iftekhar Uddin, an associate professor, of science and technology at Sylhet Metropolitan University; Dr Ahsan Habib, an assistant professor at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology; and Dr Tahmid Abdullah Chowdhury; a lecturer forensic medicine at Park View Medical College, Sylhet.
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