Songklanagarind Hospital has successfully used plasma from a recovered Covid-19 patient to treat patients with critical symptoms of the disease.
The cured patient was sent back home on 19 May, said Sarunyou Chusri, infectious disease specialist at the Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University.
The Covid-19 patient treated with donated plasma was sent from Narathiwat province to be treated initially with the standard anti-retroviral drug Favipiravir for three days, with no improvement.
The patient displayed symptoms including decreased blood oxygen saturation, low heart rate and respiratory failure. Endotracheal intubation was performed, along with complementary treatment of using plasma donated by the first Covid-19 patient who recovered through standard hospital treatment, he said.
The medical team injected 200cc of plasma twice, and after three to four days, the patient's respiratory function and heart rate improved, while inflammation decreased.
The viral load in the patient's pharynx was also below measurable levels. Pneumonia symptoms in the patient have eased, and the patient could be taken off a ventilator, said Dr Sarunyou.
"However, we still can't say this treatment will work for everyone; it has to be considered on a case-by-case basis. The recovery of this patient is considered a successful individual treatment case," he said.
The use of plasma is not viewed as a preventative procedure. Rather, it is considered to be a complementary treatment performed only when a patient does not recover through standard means.
Nevertheless, recovered patients have contacted Songklanagarind Hospital to donate their plasma to the hospital's blood bank, the doctor said.
Donors must be tested to ensure they are free of any infectious disease. Normally, 400-600cc of blood can be donated at a time, and donations can be repeated if immunity is sufficient.