Wednesday, July 28

The lack of plasma paralyzes its use against covid at the Sant Joan Hospital

A man who has overcome the covid donates plasma at the Sant Joan Transfusion Center.  |  RAFA ARJONES

A man who has overcome the covid donates plasma at the Sant Joan Transfusion Center. | RAFA ARJONES

The Hospital de Sant Joan, La Fe de València and the Transfusion Center of the Valencian Community they need donors who have passed the covid to advance the investigation of the possible benefits of the infusion of plasma of ex-patients in current infected. And also means to manage them and carry out their study. During this past week, the shortage of units has interrupted transfusions as therapy against the virus for some blood groups. “We have finished what we have,” explained José Antonio Fernández, Sant Joan’s Head of Hematology.

“We had a sufficient quantity, more than 400 reserve units, but with all this situation we have found that it has been lacking”, explains Francisco Jover, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit (UEI) of the Sant Joan Hospital. For the moment, This clinical trial, which began in May, has transfused plasma from ex-covid patients to about 450 people, according to Jover, co-promoter of the work.

In the first wave, the people who agreed to participate in this study as donors were generally authorities. “Police, civil guards participated … There was a lot of volunteerism,” explains Jover. At this time, the saturation of the staff managing the study, who at the same time carry out their care work, and the occupation of recovered patients, makes recruitment difficult. Some staff casualties due to infections also complicate the management of the list of possible donors that researchers have. Some toilets, volunteered, wait to be called.

The lack of plasma has lasted for a few days, with only blood samples available from group A. However, last Friday the Alicante hospital center increased the number of blood of this type. “We have units to cover 85% of the requests,” says the head of the UEI. Eleven patients received this treatment on the 8th day.

The scientific results of this study, still in phase two, are not known at the moment, although a small sample analyzed and the perception of health workers could conclude in benefits for patients infected with covid who received this treatment in the earliest possible phase of the illness. A total of fourteen centers in the Valencian Community, ten of them in the province of Alicante, participate in this therapy.

The requirements for people who have overcome the covid and want to be donors, and who should contact the Transfusion Center, is to be a man between 18 and 65 years old, without chronic diseases, who have been asymptomatic, who have not had cancer, and who have never had hepatitis or syphilis. Women, as explained by Fernández, head of the Hematology service, cannot donate because they could have antibodies directed at some blood component, which could lead to a transfusion reaction.

Only two adverse reactions among the first 150 study patients

The first sample of the project has 200 cases registered until November

About 450 transfused patients. This is the figure for the number of people who have received plasma from patients who have overcome the covid in this study carried out in centers in the Valencian Community. Of that total, there are 200 cases registered up to the month of November that are part of the first sample for data analysis. This analysis is still in progress, but with 150 cases already studied, Francisco Jover, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit (UEI) of the Hospital de Sant Joan and co-producer of the study, gives a perception, although, he remembers, still without evidence. “It is very likely that the plasma does have an effect, the most important thing will be to know when it is safest,” explains the health worker. So far, Jover explains the feeling of improvement that is perceived in patients, and note that there are only two adverse cases among those in the first sample. A study carried out by the Argentine Infant Foundation reveals that the use of blood plasma from recovered patients is effective in people over 65 with covid, since it reduces the possibility that they need oxygen by 60%.

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