Urgent need for plasma donors

September 9, 2020

Muscat: The Department of Blood Bank Services has appealed to all those recovering from COVID-19 to take the initiative to donate plasma to contribute to the treatment of those infected with the pandemic. There has been a decrease in the number of donors of immune plasma.

However, Dr Ahmed al Saidi, Minister of Health, revealed, during the Press Conference for the Supreme Committee that the number of plasma donors reached 221 in August, with a total of 506 plasma units. The total number of donors reached 911 donors, with a total of 2,011 plasma units.

The convalescent plasma of a single recovered person contributes to the treatment of three patients, as it is extracted from the blood of the recovered. It is antibodies to the virus that strengthen the immune system of the infected person.

Responding to inquires raised over the donation process, the DBBS at the Ministry of Health clarified many points, emphasising that it seeks to reach the largest number of people recovering from COVID-19. It confirmed that it communicates by phone with them (citizens and residents) despite the difficulty of dealing with some residents who do not speak Arabic or English. It also announces emergency cases that need to provide plasma urgently.

It said that donating blood or one of its components is considered a voluntary and humanitarian action. “To ensure the quality and safety of blood, we follow the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, which stipulate that blood donation is voluntary and free of charge,” it added in a statement.

The department explained that some procedures and conditions must be met before donating the plasma, including, more than 14 days must have passed for the recovered person since the absence of symptoms and the end of the quarantine period; the recovered must be aged between 18 and 60 years; the recovered should not have any health impediments (such as chronic diseases, infectious diseases, blood diseases, etc. If the recovered person has not previously donated blood or donated a long time back, additional checks are done before commencing the plasma donation to ensure that he is free of infectious diseases, noting that these tests are repeated after donating. Women who have previously become pregnant cannot donate plasma.

It is also important that immune plasma is taken from a person who recovered from COVID-19 and his infection was previously confirmed through the approved diagnostic examination for COVID-19 (medical swab). Yet, donating plasma differs from donating blood as it is done by a device that draws and separates blood. This process takes from 40 to 60 minutes. The donor can donate plasma once every 7 days, or three times a month. The DBBS said that it welcomes all inquiries and appointments coordination through Whatsapp 94555648, or call 24591255.


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