The use of plasma or convalescent serum consists of extracting virus antibodies from the blood of patients who have recovered
By CONECTA News Desk - 04/08/2020

Researchers at the TecSalud San José Hospital in Monterrey, Mexico, have come up with a new way of treating COVID-19 by using plasma donated by patients who have recovered.

This research will be put into practice in collaboration with the Nuevo León Ministry of Health: the hospital will be one of the first in the country to try out this therapy.

TecSalud is Tecnológico de Monterrey’s healthcare system.

 

WHAT IS PLASMA?

Plasma is the liquid part of blood that remains when the red blood cells, platelets and other components have been removed.

 

Plasma sangre COVID-19
Photo: Shutterstock. A health professional separating plasma from blood.

 

HOW IS PLASMA DONATED?

When someone catches an illness, the body starts producing antibodies to fight it.

After recovery, these antibodies float in the liquid part of the blood (the plasma) for months, even years.

The treatment being tested consists of:

  • extracting the plasma from a recovered patient at the hospital’s blood bank
  • performing rigorous clinical analyses to make sure it is free from infectious agents
  • giving it to constantly monitored patients in critical condition in the COVID units at the San José Hospital

 

Plasma. Tratamiento para COVID-19 en México, en Tec Salud
Photo: Shutterstock. Bag of plasma in a hospital.

HISTORICAL AND SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT

Historically, this treatment is also known as “convalescent serum”.

It was used by doctors in China as the earliest way of treating the new coronavirus.

In the United States, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has authorized the use of this therapy on American citizens suffering from COVID-19.

U.S. healthcare authorities believe that this plasma could be effective against this virus, which has caused a global pandemic.

Dr.Fernando Castilleja, director of the TecSalud Department of Wellbeing and Prevention (Bienestar y Prevención), explained the importance of this research to CONECTA.

“With these innovative treatments, TecSalud will make a contribution to society, not just with medical and hospital services, but going beyond that by getting involved in research protocols that may produce excellent results to deal with this pandemic.”

Thanks to plasma donations from patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19, we’ll be able to assist patients who are currently fighting the disease and whose prognosis is not very encouraging.”


 

Hospital San José, de Tec Salud, aplica tratamiento con plasma para pacientes con COVID-19
The Tec Salud San José Hospital where this treatment is being tested has been designated as a hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

 

AN EXAMPLE: A PATIENT WHO WANTED TO HELP OUT

Enrique Gómez Junco, a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 and one of those who donated their plasma, says that the opportunity to be able to do something for someone else in this way is very important.

In an interview with CONECTA, he talked about his recovery and the possibility of helping by making a donation:

“I hope this will be beneficial for people suffering with this illness because they’re going through some terrible times, not just in terms of health but the whole isolation issue,” he said.

 

Enrique Gómez Junco, paciente de COVID-19, donó plasma.
Enrique Gómez Junco donating the plasma from his blood. Picture taken from social media with his permission.

 

The mexican influencer, known as Kike Gómez Junco (Instagram @kikegomezjunco), said that his recovery has made him appreciate the people around him.

“Being able to be close to your people, your family, your loved ones, is something we enjoy every day and we often take it for granted. Getting back what you might have lost is wonderful.”

He encouraged people who have been infected, or who could be, to remain calm.

“In most cases, this illness isn’t serious. Take care and stay indoors to keep this thing under control as much as possible and to stop it from harming others.”

“The fact that the Tec is at the forefront of innovative projects is important, especially for something that could help thousands of people stay healthy. We hope that these tests are as successful as possible for the good of Mexico,” he concluded.

 

 

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