Bali rolled out blood plasma donations from recovered Covid-19 patients at the blood transfusion unit of the Sanglah Hospital on Thursday (16/7).
Blood plasma donations which are the first carried out in Bali, will later be used for therapy treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Head of Bali Health Services, Kadek Iwan Darmawan, said the first person to donate blood plasma was a 34-year-old medical worker who was treated for exposure to Covid-19 and later declared recovered. He was thus eligible to become a donor.
Darmawan said that to date, a specific drug for treatment of Covid-19 patients as well as the vaccine, has not been found.
At present, management of Covid-19 patients utilizes several therapeutic models. One method involves blood plasma from recovered patients used as convalescent plasma therapy for active Covid-19 patients.
According to Darmawan, research in various countries has shown that convalescent plasma therapy is very helpful in the healing process, especially for coronavirus patients in severe and critical condition.
In Indonesia, several hospitals have implemented this therapy, including in Bali. In Bali, this method was first carried out at the Udayana Hospital. To date, there have been 6 patients treated with blood plasma therapy.
Blood plasma for the therapy for these 6 patients was imported from Jakarta even though laboratories and blood transfusion units in Bali are ready to carry out these functions.
This method of treatment is subject to the willingness of recovered patients to donate their blood plasma.
“Various attempts have been made to educate patients, both those treated in hospitals and in quarantine, so that after returning home and after 14 days without symptoms, they are willing to donate blood” Darmawan said in a written statement on Thursday (16/7).
Head of Bali Public Health, Ketut Suarjaya, appreciated the willingness of recovered Covid-19 patients to donate their blood plasma.
As part of Bali’s independent efforts to treat Covid-19 patients, the availability of blood plasma is required.
“We must be able to be independent, starting from the donors, the process of implementation, storage, distribution of plasma and management in hospitals” he said.
He said he would form a provincial team as well as coordinators in each district/ city to provide information and educate Covid-19 patients so that those who were eligible were encouraged to donate their blood plasma.
Recovered Covid-19 patients can become donors after at least 14 days of official recovery and no longer experiencing symptoms. Females who have never been pregnant and both sexes who have never received blood transfusions are eligible as donors. Donors aged 17 to 60 years will first be screened as part of the normal blood donor process. Blood plasma donation is carried out within one day.
Meanwhile, the Dean of Health at Udayana University, Professor Suyasa said that there is an urgent need for convalescent plasma therapy to be applied in Bali.
This is because of late, Covid-19 cases with severe symptoms have begun to emerge.
“In the current situation, people need proof that blood plasma donations are safe. From a medical standpoint, we are also conducting research related to this convalescent plasma therapy” he said.