According to the newspaper Juventud Rebelde, six Cuban provinces are developing the protocol for obtaining blood plasma from patients recovered from the coronavirus to be used for medical assistance and research purposes.
Havana started this service last Thursday, April 16, with two donors. Later, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Matanzas and Ciego de Ávila joined in. And early next week Camagüey will also start.
In the process of overcoming the disease, infected people developed antibodies. Their study and availability are vital to help other patients, especially in serious or critical condition. But as more plasma becomes available, its use will be extended to patients with mild or asymptomatic symptoms to prevent the infection from progressing and to stimulate the early generation of their own antibodies.
One same patient can be transfused up to four times, depending on his/her improvement. The essential requirement is to use plasma from the same blood group, so it is important to get enough from all groups.
In the different provinces, technicians are going to the houses of those who recovered or speak in the hospitals with the patients who are going to be discharged immediately to explain the importance and safety of the technique and to see if they are willing to contribute to this effort.
Automated plasmapheresis to extract hyper immune plasma for therapeutic purposes has been used in several countries. Cuba has conditions to extend the procedure to all provinces without compromising the priorities of the Blood Donation Program, which guarantees supplies to hospitals and raw materials for the blood products plant in Havana.
At this time, hyper immune plasma is the only available source of antibodies to face the new coronavirus for immediate use. The method has been applied in multiple viral diseases, particularly in severe epidemic conditions for which there are neither vaccines nor other specific treatments.