Bengaluru doctor donates plasma for 9th time | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Dr Srikanth V was found Covid-19 positive in August 2020 and post-recovery, he has been a regular plasma donor with the hospital’s blood bank
BENGALURU: A 52-year-old Bengaluru doctor donated convalescent plasma for the ninth time on Thursday.
Dr Srikanth V, senior consultant plastic surgeon from Manipal Hospitals, was found Covid-19 positive in August 2020 and post-recovery, he has been a regular plasma donor with the hospital’s blood bank. While there is no clarity on how long a Covid-recovered person can donate plasma, the only criterion observed is the spike protein antibody levels detected prior to donation.
Plasma is the almost-clear liquid part of blood and about 55% of our blood is plasma. Plasma of a person who has overcome an illness contains antibodies and protective proteins that fight diseases and antigens like viruses. This is called convalescent plasma.
Absence of a plasma bank and lack of efforts to spread the word about the benefits of plasma donation have rendered plasma an orphaned therapy, say researchers.
Debunking popular misconceptions, Dr Srikanth said Covid antibodies do not wane with plasma donation. Every time, before donating plasma, Dr Srikant undergoes the mandatory Covid spike protein antibody test and so far, the same has remained much higher than the permissible limits in his case.
Dr Srikanth, whose blood group is A-positive, said plasma donation is the need of the hour, considering drugs shortage. “I was mildly symptomatic when I turned positive in August 2020. Since then, I have been donating plasma once in every 3-4 weeks. The spike protein antibody test result has been greater than the prescribed limit. Plasma donation does not diminish a person’s Covid antibodies,” Dr Srikanth told TOI.
He suggested all eligible Covidrecovered persons donate plasma 28 days after recovery.
One unit of plasma (200 ml totally) donated every time is used for two needy patients. Dr Srikanth has thus donated plasma to 18 patients through the nine rounds. However, he has no clue who the recipients were. A regular donor since the age of 18, Dr Srikanth has donated blood and blood products 75 times so far.
According to Dr C Shivaram, head, transfusion medicine, Manipal Hospitals, Dr Srikanth’s contribution should inspire other Covidrecovered individuals to come forward to donate plasma.
“Srikanth is most probably the first person in the state who has donated plasma nine times. It’s a misconception that immunity wanes after plasma donation. We don’t have research on this yet, but Dr Srikanth’s case is a classic proof. It’s like drawing water from a well in small quantities. That does not dry up the well. The more the donation, the longer the antibodies stay. With or without donation, the antibody levels reduce over time,” said Dr Shiavram. The key is to check the antibody titer levels that indicate the quantity of antibodies in a plasma donor. “There is no uniform criteria being set. The values differ based on the antibody testing kit used. Lab approval is needed prior to donation,” he added.
In Dr Srikanth’s case, the antibodies were boosted by the natural infection he recovered from, followed by the second dose of vaccination he took 28 days ago, said Dr Shivram. “Plasma donation can be done by those who recovered from Covid and have rich antibodies, not by those who have vaccine-induced antibodies,” said Dr Shivaram.
A point to note, say doctors, is that convalescent plasma donation helps only those with moderate Covid infection. “Plasma transfusion should be ideally done within 5-7 days of the onset of the infection. It cannot help critical patients on ventilators,” said Dr Shivaram.
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