New Delhi, November 22nd, 2014: The use of whole blood or serum from convalescent Ebola virus disease survivors is being used for the treatment of affected patients.
The World Health Organization has issued interim guidance for the collection and administration of convalescent whole blood or plasma for treatment of Ebola virus disease (EVD).
“The patient who is currently undergoing convalescence from Ebola should be persuaded to donate blood or plasma for a future patient”, said Padma Shri, National Science Communication and Dr. B C Roy National Awardee Dr. K K Aggarwal President Heart Care Foundation of India and Senior National Vice President Indian Medical Association.
Giving his valuable insights on the deadly virus Dr. Aggarwal said, "While there is no proven treatment available for Ebola virus disease, whole blood collected from patients in the convalescent phase of infection has been used as an empirical treatment with promising results in a small group of cases with Ebola virus disease and the concept that this treatment could be efficacious is biologically plausible, as convalescent plasma has been used successfully for the treatment of a variety of infectious agents".
WHO guidelines cover all aspects of this procedure. Patients who have recovered from EVD and been discharged from Ebola treatment centers or units could be potential donors for convalescent whole blood or plasma from 28 days after their day of discharge.
Only those EVD patients who have been discharged according to the WHO criteria as clinically asymptomatic and have twice tested negative for EBOV RNA by molecular techniques, should be considered as potential donors. The two samples for EBOV RNA testing should be taken at least 48 hours apart, and the test results should be negative on each sample.
Donated convalescent whole blood should be stored between +2 degree and +6 degree (never frozen) preferably in a separate blood bank refrigerator dedicated to convalescent whole blood or plasma units, fitted with a temperature monitoring system and alarm. Plasma separated from whole blood donations or collected by apheresis may be stored as ‘Liquid Plasma’ between +2 degree and six degree in blood bank refrigerators for up to 40 days. Alternatively, it may be frozen either within 8 hours of collection as ‘Fresh Frozen Plasma’ or within 18-24 hours of collection as ‘Plasma Frozen within 24 hours’ and stored for up to 12 months at or below -18 degree.
Only patients with confirmed EVD preferably in its early stages should be considered for transfusion, as an empirical treatment for EVD. ABO and RhD matched blood or plasma units that need to be selected for transfusion.
Initiated in 1986, the Heart Care Foundation of India is a leading National NGO working in the field of creating mass health awareness among people from all walks of life and providing solutions for India’s everyday healthcare needs. The NGO uses consumer based entertainment modules to impart health education and increase awareness amongst people. A leading example of this is the Perfect Health Mela, an annual event started in 1993 that is attended by over 2-3 lakh people each year. The Mela showcases activities across categories such as health education seminars and checkups, entertainment programs, lifestyle exhibitions, lectures, workshops and competitions. In addition to this, the NGO conducts programs and camps to train people on the technique of hands only CPR through its CPR 10 mantra for revival after a sudden cardiac arrest. They currently hold three Limca Book of World Records for the maximum number of people trained in hands only CPR in one go. Keeping article 21 of the Indian constitution in mind, which guarantees a person Right to Life, Heart Care Foundation of India has also recently initiated a project called the Sameer Malik Heart Care Foundation Fund to ensure that no one dies of a heart disease just because they cannot afford treatment.