Convalescent Plasma Therapy and COVID-19

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Convalescent Plasma Therapy and COVID-19

Explore how B Medical Systems can help in the convalescent plasma therapy.

Over 60 years ago, in 1959, Dr. Michael Rubenstein first used a process called plasmapheresis to save the life of a patient with a severe case of a blood disorder. Now, a more sophisticated version of the same treatment is being used to treat extreme cases of COVID-19. But how does this treatment work and is it effective? How can we make sure that this or other therapies will reach the maximum number of people in need for them?

Many hospitals around the world have started using a procedure called “convalescent plasma therapy” to treat severe cases of COVID-19. The principle is to obtain the plasma, from someone who has recovered from the virus. This plasma is injected into a person with the infection. This treatment provides the patient with vital antibodies, the most effective weapon of our immune system, needed to reinforce the efforts of the patient’s own response against the virus.

Early results of case studies indicate that convalescent plasma therapy could become a promising treatment in response to the pandemic. It is still too early to say whether it will be introduced worldwide as a treatment against the coronavirus: the therapy is still being tested and the risks of its use (such as allergic reactions, transmissions of other infections or even the possibility of transmitting the virus itself) are currently being investigated.

What is necessary to ensure the safe use of such a therapy? Since there can be a delay from the moment of the blood extraction until the transfusion of the plasma, the medical staff must ensure that the antibodies in the samples don’t degrade during that time. Degradation renders the plasma ineffective in the fight against the virus. The simplest way to prevent this is to effectively freeze the plasma at the intended temperature.

Recently, the ISBT working party has given the following temperature related guideline: the samples should be frozen as soon as possible at a minimum temperature of -20°C (preferably lower) and they should be stored frozen until administration. Hospitals are therefore required to rapidly freeze all the blood and plasma samples they obtain to avoid the degradation of the antibodies in the plasma that they will use on their COVID-19 patients.
B Medical Systems’ Plasma storage freezers are intended for the safe storage of plasma and blood components with a set point ranging from -32°C to -41°C and with a net volume capacity ranging from 106 to 763 L (3.74 to 26.95 cu. ft.). All models have been designed with state-of-the-art refrigeration technology, smart auto defrost technology and superior insulation that facilitate an optimized cooling process enabling temperature uniformity and faster recovery throughout the operations. We also offer Contact Shock Freezers that are designed for rapid freezing of blood plasma or biological samples to a core temperature below -30°C in less than an hour. Both our plasma storage freezers and contact shock freezers are classified as medical devices Class ll(a) according to MDD 93/42/EEC or Class II according to 21CFR Part 864.9700. Through our contact shock freezers and plasma storage freezers, we ensure a safe handling and storage of the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma, thereby partnering in your fight against the new coronavirus.

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