Understand the basics of Coronavirus Plasma Treatment and Can it cure COVID-19?
What is COVID-19 Plasma Treatment? There are many problems scientists and doctors face when dealing with a novel virus. First, how the virus spreads and how quickly it spreads isn’t known until the virus actually begins infecting people.
Second, the symptoms are also unclear until enough people get sick. Finally, finding a vaccine or treatment takes time, and much trial and error.
But the CDC has been hard at work understanding the symptoms and rate of transmission of COVID-19 and has recently revised its list of virus symptoms as the increase in cases has provided them with richer data. There is also new progress in seeking the best treatment.
What are antibodies?
Viruses and bacteria infiltrate your body every single minute of every day, and for the most part, your immune system is able to fight off these foreign invaders.
This is a complicated process involving many chemical reactions and various specialized cells, but the best-understood immune system response to these harmful pathogens is the deployment of antibodies.
These proteins are secreted by your immune system into your bloodstream. When the antibodies encounter a specific virus or bacterium, it is able to attach to the surface and neutralize the pathogen.
To treat people who are severely ill with COVID-19, doctors use plasma from people who have recovered. Plasma is the liquid part of blood, and in recovered COVID-19 patients, it contains antibodies that are specialized to fight this coronavirus.
Doctors are able to take donated blood from a recovered patient, isolate the plasma, and then infuse this plasma into the blood of a sick person.
The antibodies neutralize the virus, lending a helping hand to the sick person’s immune system.
Reducing severity of illness
Many people who exhibit severe COVID-19 symptoms have weakened immune systems. Plasma treatment gives them the antibodies that they would have otherwise had to produce on their own.
While this treatment is still in the exploration phase, it has had positive results so far. The hope is that patient load will decrease for hospitals as we wait for a vaccine.
Until then, social-distancing and preventative measures are our best weapons against the new virus and plasma treatment is a last resort.
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