Patients who have made a full recovery from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection have to meet certain screening criteria before donating their plasma to other COVID-19 patients, according to the latest version of the treatment plan for the contagious virus freshly released by Shenzhen No. 3 People’s Hospital.
“Version II of the Treatment Plan,” an update to the “Shenzhen version” of COVID-19 treatment, stipulates that recovered patients are allowed to donate plasma only after being discharged from a hospital for at least 10 days. A potential donor must be between 18 and 60 years old and have no blood-borne diseases such as AIDS, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. A health evaluation by a clinical doctor is also required prior to plasma donation, according to the requirements stipulated in “Version II.” A donor must sign an informed consent form before donating.
The plasma of recovered patients that contains a specific antibody titer to the COVID-19 RBD protein greater than 104 dilution can be selected for treating the virus. The content of therapeutic antibodies in a candidate’s plasma will be tested in a neutralizing virus test.
All plasma donations will be performed at the Shenzhen Blood Center. Four hundred millimeters of plasma will be collected per donor per donation, with donation amounts set at no more than 580 millimeters per donation for plasma with a specific antibody.
Plasma treatment is only administered to COVID-19 patients in severe and critical condition and those whose nucleic acid tests remain positive for one week and are suitable for blood transfusion, according to the latest treatment plan.
“Version II” is formulated on the basis of doctors’ clinical experience at Shenzhen No. 3 People’s Hospital (the medical institution designated for the treatment of COVID-19 in Shenzhen), the treatment plan provided by the national health authority and the suggestions of medical experts of Guangdong Province.
According to the city’s health authority, COVID-19 patients will be discharged from a hospital only after they have body temperatures within the normal range for three days, test negative in two nucleic acid tests and CT scans show the inflammation in their chest has resolved, among other requirements.
Under the first Shenzhen version of the treatment plan, different medical approaches were adopted in the treatment of COVID-19 patients at Shenzhen No. 3 People’s Hospital depending on the patient’s condition. Those with light symptoms underwent RNA testing at least every three days and early-period oxygen therapy. For patients with severe symptoms, RNA is monitored on a daily basis, and anti-virus treatment is pushed progressively. Convalescent plasma therapy and specific anti-body therapy are administered to patients who are in severe or critical condition.
Based on clinical symptoms and chest imaging during the early stages of the virus, the Shenzhen version suggests using IgM to treat patients whose peripheral blood lymphocyte (PBL) count is low, if feasible.