Ghana has taken the fight against COVID-19 a notch higher, with plans to introduce blood plasma as part of treatment options for those infected with the virus.
Under the initiative, COVID-19 patients with moderate and severe conditions would be given the plasma transfusion from recovered patients, to aid their recovery.
As a result, the National Blood Service (NBS) is beginning the collection of blood plasma from recovered patients for onward transfusion to yet-to-be recovered patients.
“The NBS is working very closely with the Ministry of Health, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the COVID-19 treatment team to prepare convalescence plasma (CP) from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 for transfusion, as an empirical treatment to patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Justina Kordai Ansah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NBS.
Speaking on the sidelines during the commemoration of the World Blood Donor Day on June 14, under the theme: “Safe Blood Saves Lives,” Dr. Ansah said the move is based on the fact that patients who recover from diseases like Ebola and COVID-19, appear to have robust immune response to the infection.
“Antibodies in the plasma of recovered patients can be transfused to other COVID-19 patients to aid their recovery from the infection … once there is no vaccine this is the best line of treatment,” she explained.
Dr. Ansah added that the method is being used in other countries like Mauritius and said “people are recovering.”
She said the NBS is hoping to start the collection as soon as funds are released by the Ministry of Health for the purchase of consumables.
“We have the plasma forensics machine; we have the protocols; and approval from FDA, we are waiting on the Health Ministry to provide funding for consumables,” she said.
In this regard, Dr. Ansah encouraged recovered COVID-19 patients to step forward and donate blood to save the lives of other patients in critical condition.
“At the moment we have the list of those who have recovered and we want people who have recovered to come forward when we call so that they can be part of this process.
Once we start that, people who have moderate or severe COVID-19 can be treated with the plasma,” she said.