The Costa Rican health authorities recently announced that they began applying a plasma-based treatment of people recovered from COVID-19 to positive patients who are hospitalized.
Román Macaya, executive president of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), commented “We take plasma from a recovered patient and transfuse a patient who is active with the virus and try to neutralize the spread of the virus in the body of that new patient.”
A first-person treated with plasma
The procedure according to Macaya was as follows, this therapy was applied to a 37-year-old woman from La Cruz, Province of Guanacaste (North Pacific) who was hospitalized last week. The information was released through a virtual press conference.
The woman who was transferred to the Specialized Patient Care Center with COVID-19 (CEACO) for the procedure received the first dose of plasma-based serum on Saturday and a second dose on Sunday.
It is important to note that this serum is made by the Clodomiro Picado Institute of the University of Costa Rica, which uses a technique similar to that applied in the creation of snake antivenoms, its specialty.
“The patient so far shows a positive evolution at this very early moment in announcing the result. Few countries in the world have this capacity, as of today we have 61 bags of convalescent plasma that have been taken from 25 donors, who come voluntarily to donate blood,” said Macaya.
Currently, there are no 100% effective treatments against COVID-19
There is no effective treatment for the recovery of people with COVID-19, therefore, infected patients have to create antibodies to eliminate the virus from the body, and these antibodies remain in the blood plasma.
How is this serum implemented?
It is important to know that convalescent plasma serum will be used as a treatment for those COVID-19 patients who have a severe or critical condition, with less than 14 days of hospitalization, and who meet other medical criteria to receive this treatment.
Three key strategies:
1. The first one is the plasma applied to those infected with the virus.
2. The second takes a larger quantity of plasma from the patients, purifies the antibodies and standardizes the potency, and then makes injections of these purified antibodies.
3. The third action is the development of antibodies in horses so that they are hyperimmunized and obtain a better neutralizing power of the virus.
For all of these strategies it is still early to say if they are going to work, but “there is no reason to rule them out and all three are being developed in the country,” Macaya said.
Costa Rica is a small country, but since the first case detected of COVID-19, it has implemented important sanitary measures throughout its territory. What has undoubtedly generated a minimum of human losses due to this Pandemic?
Some important data to know is that in the Costa Rican nation 628 people have been recovered, which represents (66 percent) and only 10 have died (1 percent). Also, 15,627 suspected cases of COVID-19 have been ruled out.