Plasma of recovered patients is being used as one of the treatments applied in Cuba against COVID-19, particularly in the seriously ill. This is therapy previously used against other infectious diseases and to which science has now turned to in order to combat the new coronavirus.
“Plasma or serum from recovered patients is being used to initiate therapy in patients who are serious ill or have an unfavorable evolution,” Ricardo Pereda, coordinator of the group of experts from the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), explained this Monday on Cuban television.
Perera said that this method “is part of the therapeutic arsenal that exists in Cuba” and added that Cuban specialists are “following the treatments carried out in the world.”
According to the expert, several of the patients recovered from COVID-19 in the country―a number that now exceeds 300―have donated their plasma for the seriously ill’s therapy, “complying with all the rules and the rigor that it implies.”
“We waited for a while, and once the patient had recovered and verified that the plasma was in a position to give its own immunity, the procedure was carried out,” he explained.
In addition, he highlighted the exchange between Cuban and international specialists, through videoconferences, which has allowed handling updated information and debating the decisions to be made.
“This has enabled the evolution of an important group” of patients, he assured.
Perera commented that on the island there is “a permanent observatory of the experiences that each country accumulates in the management of the disease,” which seeks to “take the best and bring it to collective analysis and discussion.”
This, he affirms, together with the use of appropriate medicines and protocols, preventive actions, the exchange of information among specialists “has allowed the rate of patients who become seriously ill in Cuba to be half the world average and to have achieved successes in the effective recovery of seriously and critically ill patients.”
The use of plasma from recovered patients is a centuries-old treatment used to combat outbreaks of influenza―such as the pandemic of the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918―and measles before vaccines existed, and more recently it has also been used against SARS and Ebola.
This method, known as “convalescent serum,” was already used in China after the coronavirus epidemic broke out and has later been extended to other countries as part of the treatments for the disease.