SWITZERLAND, JUNE 15 – The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that the Federal Government is working on a research, using plasma from the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients to treat people infected with the virus.
Ehanire disclosed this on Sunday while answering questions from newsmen in Abuja on the possibility of using plasma of recovered coronavirus patients to treat serious cases.
Speaking at a news conference on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day (WBDD),the minister also apprised that some research institutes were already working on the new research.
“It’s believed that persons who suffered COVID-19 and have recovered will have antibodies inside their plasma, which can be used to treat others.
“It can be used to treat others who are not able to build antibodies fast enough or those who are suffering from a severe form of coronavirus.
“Yes, our research centres are participating in looking at what advantages and benefits can come out of convalescent plasma.
It was learnt that some survivors of COVID-19 were said to be donating their blood plasma in the hope that it would help infected people recover from the virus.
This was after Chinese medical experts suggested that severely ill COVID-19 patients could benefit from infusions of blood plasma collected from people who have recovered
Ehanire explained that plasma of patients recovered from COVID-19 is called Convalescent plasma. Survivor plasma is a century-old remedy used to fight infection before modern medicines came along.
Thousands of coronavirus patients in hospitals around the world have been treated with so-called convalescent plasma including more than 20,000 in the U.S. and there is little solid evidence so far that the treatment can stave off the virus.
“I have seen this particular research in Lagos; it is part of what will be studied and the result will be published so research is going on it,’’ he said.
He urged Nigerians to donate blood to save the lives of those in need, asking people to disregard some surrounding blood donation.
“Myths are part of ignorance that education should fight and stakeholders are supposed to enlighten people on this issue, that your blood is something that can save somebody life.
“The blood is regenerated in your system; your body is stimulated to replace that blood donated so that blood that you donated, very soon, it is filled by your system.
“It is filled in such a way that a man can donate four times in a year while women can donate up to three times a year, provided they are tested fit.
“They can donate provided they are free of any sickness and provided they will not suffer any disadvantage from donating the blood,” he said.
He mentioned that the ministry has been creating awareness on the need to donate, adding “donating blood provides availability of safe blood at hospitals and where they are needed”.