Plasma Therapy: Egypt begins trial for coronavirus treatment using blood from survivors
London, April 21, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Egypt has begun clinical trials for the treatment of coronavirus using blood plasma from patients who have recovered from the deadly virus
The ministry has reportedly collected blood samples from two people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the hope that transfusions can help save the lives of people hospitalised with the infection
The goal of the treatment is to transfer the antibodies in the blood of patients who have recently recovered from the virus using the antibody-rich serum to boost the immune systems of patients struggling to overcome the virus.
Convalescent plasma therapy dates back more than a century and was used in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. The treatment relies on the presence of antibodies that provide some level of immunity to patients who have recovered from the virus. The most effective transfusions contain high levels of antibodies that can, in principle, boost the recipient’s immune defences for weeks.
Many countries, including the US, UK China, France and India, have started trials of the treatment.
Reuters this month reported a Chinese study of ten patients with severe cases who improved significantly, compared to similar patients who did not receive the treatment.
Similar plasma treatments have been used against other diseases, including measles, chickenpox and the 1918 influenza.
Egypt’s health ministry has also changed two of the drugs in its coronavirus treatment protocols, sources at the health ministry told Shorouk News on Sunday.
The ministry replaced chloroquine phosphate with chloroquine magnesium, as the former has caused side effects, and replaced the antibiotic used in the treatment with a stronger one.
Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar announced in April that Egypt had received samples of the Japanese anti-viral flu drug Avigan to test as a possible COVID-19 treatment.