Coronavirus: Dubai doctors appeal to recovered patients to donate antibody-rich blood

People would be asked to give 600ml of blood - enough to treat two or three patients - as medics push ahead with convalescent plasma treatment

Blood from recovered Covid-19 patients is rich in antibodies that can be injected into seriously ill people with the virus. The National
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Dubai's health authority will ask recovered Covid-19 patients to donate blood for the treatment of those people in a serious condition.

Three clinics have been set up to collect convalescent plasma, as it is called, for use in hospitals across the emirate.

Each recovered patient would donate 600ml of blood, which would be split into three 200ml doses, enough for two to three patients with "medium to severe symptoms".

Dr Younis Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Healthcare Corporation, stressed the importance of convalescent plasma therapy, which he said could speed the recovery by up to 90 per cent.

Once a person recovers from the virus they retain antibodies that will stay in their blood to fight the same virus in the future. Those antibodies can fight off the virus when transfused into another patient, boosting their immune system.

Dr Kazim said most patients who have passed 14 days since their last negative test for coronavirus would be eligible to donate.

"A final test will be conducted after they complete this period before the patient can donate blood plasma," he said.

"Those with chronic disease and patients who suffered from severe symptoms when they had the virus will be excluded from donation."

Initially, donors were urged to visit Dubai Blood Donation Centre at Latifa Hospital near Healthcare City.

Dr Mai Raouf, head of the blood centre, said the plasma would be given to patients who need the treatment most.

Dubai Health Authority said it hoped the number of donations will rise as more patients recover.

Dr Kazim said the authority will be introducing stem cell therapy in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre, after recent success in the development of new treatment.

Earlier this week, Abdullahi Rodhile, 50, from Somalia, was named the first UAE patient to recover with the help of a stem cell treatment inhaled into the lungs.

"I was brought back to life. I was dead and now I am alive," Mr Rodhile, who works as a cargo clerk, told The National.

The treatment involves isolating then 'activating' stem cells taken from the patient's blood, before they are nebulised into a fine mist and inhaled into the lungs to ease inflammation.

It has since been used on at least 72 coronavirus patients in UAE with severe symptoms.

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