On the way to recovery

The country has already implemented one of the strategies it carries out for treatments against Coronavirus.  It is called the convalescent plasma transfusion, which was carried out on a 37-year-old woman infected with the virus. The patient is from La Cruz, Guanacaste and was admitted last Thursday at the Liberia hospital.

On Friday, she was transferred to the specialized center that cares for these patients in the capital (the former National Rehabilitation Center). The first transfusion was performed on Saturday and a second one on Sunday. The treatment requires two transfusions of plasma. There are currently about 61 bags of plasma that have been taken from 25 recovered Coronavirus donors. One to three bags can be obtained from each donor for each donation.

Román Macaya, the President of CAJA said that currently there are only a few countries trying this treatment, and it appears to be a promising approach.



How the Convalescent Plasma Transfusion works

If a person recovers successfully from Coronavirus disease, their body generates an immunity (resistance) that can be extracted from the plasma of his/her blood and used to save the life of other people with acute symptoms of this disease.

This immunity results from the antibodies or immunoglobulins that neutralize the virus. Currently, Costa Rica has the technical ability to generate such treatment and make it available to the country.

CAJA took the lead with the Clodomiro Picado Institute of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) to develop the treatment. The Institute has extensive experience in developing antivenom for snake bites and other treatments and thus have the technical capacity and human resources to carry out the required processing in the antibody purification and formulation.

The CAJA have been collecting the plasma from donors who have recovered from the COVID 19.

The Costa Rican Institute for Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health (INCIENSA) together with the Clinical Laboratory and the Blood Bank of the UCR  carry out the necessary analyzes to demonstrate that this plasma is free of the virus and other important pathogens in transfusion medicine, while the Clodomiro Picado Institute would use its experience in the manufacture of antivenom to produce a preparation of purified antibodies from plasma.

Caja’s application of this treatment is a promising prospect and a great contribution to world medicine. It is also a good example of what collaboration between the various institutions in Costa Rica can accomplish.

Let us know if you have more questions about the information in this article.


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