Health workers take swabs from traders during a Covid-19 test at Pluis traditional market, West Jakarta on Wednesday, June 17. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Survivor's Plasma Only for Covid-19 Therapy, Not Prevention: Eijkman Institute


JUNE 26, 2020

Jakarta. Convalescent plasma can help in the recovery of Covid-19 patients with a severe condition but may become harmful if used carelessly as a means to prevent the virus infection, Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology's director Amin Soebandrio said.

"Plasma convalescent donor is a therapy, not a prevention method for Covid-19. It also can't replace the vaccine," Amin said on Friday, commenting on a misconception in public about using the plasma to shield one from the disease.    


"Convalescent plasma donor is a passive immunization that means we put an existing antibody to the recipient's body. Meanwhile, in an active immunization, we stimulate the antibody inside the recipient's body," Amin said.

Indonesia has been using the blood plasma — the liquid part of the blood left after blood cell extraction — in the therapy of it Covid-19 patients in the past few months with notable success.

The case fatality rate, or the ratio between the number of deaths and the number of the confirmed Covid-19 cases, dropped to 5.2 percent on Saturday, from as high as 11.8 percent on March 12. Also, the number of deaths from Covid-19 has been growing slowly in the past two weeks.


The number of recoveries has been increasing, hitting the new records on Saturday with 884 patients discharged from the hospitals across the country. 


Amin said the plasma could eliminate the Sars-Cov-2, the new coronavirus that caused Covid-19, help repair the damaged tissue, and improve the recipient's immune system.

"Convalescent plasma comes from the Covid-19 survivors. Their bodies have had an antibody that had overcome the infection. Thus, it can help to speed up the recovery of patients with a severe condition," Amin said on Friday.

Still, the medical personnel must ensure the convalescent plasma from Covid-19 survivor is safe and matches the recipient, he said.

"The plasma must be confirmed negative from Covid-19 and must meet blood donor requirements such as free from HIV, hepatitis, and malaria," he added.

Aside from that, the Covid-19 survivor must be in a fit condition, the plasma must contain sufficient antibody level, and the recipient must not have blood type mismatch, said Amin.

He said if the survivor's plasma meets all the requirements, then the medical personnel will take the survivor's blood.

"The survivor must also sign a consent letter because it is voluntary. We are not allowed to call and ask the survivor to do it, that's unethical. Therefore, we put up an announcement and whoever interested and meets the requirements allowed to participate," Amin said.

He added male survivor is prioritized to be a convalescent plasma donor. Still, the female survivor is also allowed to be a donor as long as she is healthy and has never been pregnant.

Moreover, Amin asserted convalescent plasma could only be used as a therapy, not as a prevention method.

He also reminded the public not to take a survivor's blood and inject it to their bodies by themselves to avoid Covid-19 transmission because it is wrong, and the blood must be tested first.