Havana, Cuba.- Over 300 Covid-19 convalescents in Cuba are currently supporting the recovery of hospitalized Covid-19 patients by donating their hyperimmune plasma.
The plasma, safe from virological tests, is used in those people who got a positive PCR for several days, in addition to some patients with mild symptomatology or in severe non-ventilated condition, according to information from the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP).
The ministry refers that many of those convalescents are already immunized with the vaccine candidate against Covid-19, Soberana Plus, and make four donations per month, every seven days, without affecting their hemoglobin.
Hematology specialist Delia Porto, who is in charge of the MINSAP’s National Blood Program, detailed that part of the donations are sent to the industry to produce anti-SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune gamma, which is about to start the clinical trials process in Havana.
Leonardo Aleaga, aged 44, from Havana, has donated his hyperimmune plasma on 17 occasions, making him the volunteer with the highest record of donations for those purposes in the country.
He caught SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in June 2020 and had been admitted to the hospital for 12 days in intermediate therapy; a month after his recovery, he learned of the opportunity to contribute to the treatment of other patients and agreed to participate as a volunteer in the program.
‘A nurse came to the house and explained to me that my body had developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, and the plasma from my blood could be used to help patients recover,’ he set out.
At the beginning, he donated every 10 to 15 days, and then on a monthly basis or from time to time.
He assures that he feels very healthy and this process has not harmed him; on the contrary, he is comforted by the idea of saving lives, he said.
MINSAP data indicate that during 2020 more than one million surgeries were performed in Cuba, 79 transplants were performed and some 250,000 patients were transfused, thanks to the approximately 350,000 donations received by the National Blood Program of the MINSAP.
Since the arrival of the novel coronavirus in Cuba, strategies were drawn up to maintain blood and platelet donations, to which the plasma of SARS-CoV-2 convalescents was incorporated, used as an alternative treatment for Covid-19 patients, Dr. Porto added.
World Blood Donor’s Day is celebrated on June 14, and in Cuba a day is being held to recognize those who voluntarily donate this vital liquid to save others’ lives.