Minister of Health, Ehanire Osagie has disclosed that work is being done on using plasma from the blood of recovered Coronavirus patients to treat people infected with the virus.
The minister shared this at a news conference to commemorate the World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) — Ehanire said the plasma of patients who recovered from COVID-19 is called convalescent plasma, and further urged Nigerians to donate blood to save the lives of those in need.
The Minister is quoted as saying,
“It is believed that persons who suffered COVID-19 and have recovered will have antibodies inside their plasma, which can be used to treat others.
“It can be used to treat others who are not able to build antibody fast enough or those who are suffering from a severe form of the virus.
“Yes, our research centres are participating in looking at what advantages and benefits can come out of convalescent plasma.
“I have seen this particular research in Lagos; it is part of what will be studied and the result will be published so research is going on it.
On myths surrounding the donation of blood, he said;
“Myths are part of ignorance that education should fight and stakeholders are supposed to enlighten people on this issue, that your blood is something that can save somebody life.
“The blood is regenerated in your system; your body is stimulated to replace that blood donated so that blood that you donated, very soon, it is filled by your system.
“It is filled in such a way that a man can donate four times in a year while women can donate up to three times a year, provided they are tested fit.
“They can donate provided they are free of any sickness and provided they will not suffer any disadvantage from donating the blood.
“Donating blood provides availability of safe blood at hospitals and where they are needed.
“Nobody knows who will be in need of blood at any time so we have been embarking on media campaign and awareness creation to increase the number of voluntary donors in the country.”
The study of use of plasma to treat Coronavirus patients is coming after Chinese medical experts suggested that severely ill COVID-19 patients could benefit from infusions of blood plasma collected from people who have recovered.