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Jakarta Post

Community group joins COVID-19 blood plasma drive

Community group joins COVID-19 blood plasma drive Former COVID-19 patients donate their blood plasma on March 16, 2021 at the Indonesian Red Cross Jakarta’s blood donation center on Jl. Kramat Raya in Central Jakarta, the day after the government launched the National Convalescent Plasma Drive as a potential treatment for COVID-19 patients. (JP/Seto Wardhana)
News Desk
Jakarta   ●   Mon, April 12, 2021 2021-04-12 17:35 29 559f5bc8c5224ad06a25184c0a394eaa 1 National COVID-19,convalescent-plasma-therapy,community,Menteng,Kanisius-College Free

With COVID-19 infections showing no signs of abating more than a year since the global pandemic was declared, at least one community organization has joined the government in its nationwide bid to stop the spread of the virus.

After joining the government’s vaccination rollout targeting the elderly in late March to help administer doses to vaccine recipients, the Kanisius Menteng Alumni Organization (AM64) last week stepped up its efforts by kicking off a donation drive for blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients as an experimental treatment for the disease.

AM64 chairman Irfan Suud said the blood drive was drawing the plasma, also known as convalescent plasma, from its members who had recovered from COVID-19 as well as individual donors from the general public.

“We expect more members in our organization as well as those of other community organizations to join this effort,” Irfan said during the program’s launch ceremony over the weekend.

The program has so far registered 30 plasma donors and another 60 whole blood donors.

One registered donor, Oggy Hargiyanto, said he felt he could make a significant contribution to the fight against the pandemic by donating his plasma.

“This is my second time donating blood plasma. I feel that my health is improving by giving away my blood,” he said.

When a person has recovered from COVID-19, their blood contains the antibodies that their body produced to fight the coronavirus. These proteins exist in the liquid component of their blood, called plasma, which can be extracted and injected into COVID-19 patients to potentially fight the disease.

The idea of this technique, called passive immunization, is not new. It was first tested as an experimental treatment for diphtheria in 1892, and then later during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Research into passive immunization for COVID-19 is ongoing, with scientists divided as to its safety and effectiveness.

Last June, the Mayo Clinic in the United States trialed the safety of COVID-19 plasma treatment in 20,000 COVID-19 patients and found early results showing extremely low rates of side effects such as heart failure, lung injury, allergic reactions and death.