The National Research Center for Transfusiology and Medical Biotechnology has plans to carry out 35-40 convalescent plasma transfusions this week to treat coronavirus patients, head of the center Fyodor Karpenko told the STV channel on 17 May.
“I believe every week the number of donors is increasing nearly 1.5 times. In the coming week our center alone will conduct about 35-40 transfusions. It is very good that regional transfusiology centers got involved. Blood plasma is collected also by Minsk City Hospital No. 6 and across all the regions,” Fyodor Karpenko said. In his words, blood plasma is used by healthcare facilities in about 100 towns across Belarus.
The first convalescent plasma transfusion was done in Belarus on 11 April. Over this period some donors have donated their blood plasma three times. The donation should be preceded by a thorough medical examination that is done pretty fast in Belarus. The very transfusion lasts from 30 to 50 minutes. As of today, more than 120 people in Belarus donated plasma. Over 200 people registered to become donors, however, not all of them met the donation requirements because of having counter-indications or having no antibodies.
“The interval between donations is 14 days. Antibodies were developed in 85% of those who came to our center. The cases we are observing are proceeding in line with a classical scenario for such infections, when antibodies start developing on the fifth-tenth day after contracting the infection. The peak is observed on the second-third month after catching the virus,” Fyodor Karpenko said.
He noted that antibodies are most commonly found in young patients and those who had moderate or severe forms of the disease. Belarusian doctors are impressed by the results of the convalescent plasma therapy. “It is encouraging to see many positive results. This inspires and encourages us to keep working, discussing, exploring and promoting this therapy,” the doctor said.