New York: It is that helpless sinking feeling all are grappling with as coronavirus show no signs of slowing down. You want to help, but the most helpful thing is to stay at home.
But then there are people who have beaten the deadly coronavirus and have recovered. Can’t they be of any use as the global society fights to control the spread of the pandemic coronavirus?
Yes, persons who have recovered from coronavirus can be of help. However, first they have to remain isolated for some time. Researchers have said that most patients will have immunity for some time. It means they cannot spread the disease through coughing and sneezing. But then there is always the possibility of transmitting the disease through touch. Like touching a surface with the virus and then transmitting it elsewhere.
Maintaining good hygiene
“It’s worth remembering to maintain good hygienic practices even after you have recovered from the disease,” said one researcher. “One should continue to wash hands regularly and not shake hands,” he added. He also pointed out that one must wait for at least 14 days since the last day of the symptom. Then only will be the person eligible to help others.
‘The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine’ had an interesting observation to make. It said researchers have discovered ‘half of the patients treated for COVID-19 infection still had coronavirus for eight days after symptoms disappeared’. It also said that the recovered person should continue to wear non-medical mask when in public.
Convalescent plasma therapy
Once a person recovers from COVID-19, his or her blood contains antibodies in its plasma that can fight the virus. Those antibodies can be extracted from a donor’s blood and given to a severely ill patient via transfusion. The hope here is that the donor’s antibodies will help the patient recover. This is known as the convalescent plasma therapy and is being used in some parts of the world.
The convalescent plasma treatment has been used on patients with polio, measles, SARS and other illnesses. There is now evidence and new data that shows it could be effective in treating COVID-19 patients. This has been said by Dr Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the American Red Cross.
“We certainly are getting anecdotal reports in,” Dr Young said. “Some people who have received convalescent plasma are stabilising and requiring less oxygen. That is indeed a positive sign,” he added. However, it must be stated here that it is not a sure shot process effective in curing COVID-19 patients.
Till the beginning of this week 30 patients have received the convalescent plasma therapy according to a spokeswoman for the Mount Sinai Health System, New York. Another 300 are expected to undergo the same therapy in the coming weeks. Then only some conclusive evidence will emerge, said the spokeswoman.
Those who want to be donors in the convalescent plasma therapy must pass normal blood-donation requirements. They also should be symptom-free of COVID-19 for at least 14 day. Recovered patients can donate once every 28 days. The donation process lasts between 90 minutes to 150 minutes.
Helping the community
There are other ways in which fully recovered coronavirus patients can be of help. They can help neighbours and friends, particularly those in high-risk categories, like elderly people. They can also assist others who have been affected by other diseases. However, all coronavirus patients should wait for at least 14 days before stepping out to help others.
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