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COVID-19 patients hesitant to get plasma treatment – Medics

Convalescent plasma used in the treatment of Covid-19.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Medics are concerned that Covid-19 patients are not eager to get plasma treatment.

According to medics, while many recovered patients are willing to give their plasma to help other patients who are in need, few COVID-19 admitted patients are willing to get the treatment.

The plasma treatment works by patients getting infused with rich anti-body blood from recovered patients either intravenously or by injection.

Dr Monica Musenero, an epidemiologist and senior presidential advisor on epidemics says that many patients are not willing to take the treatment because they are not sure about its safety.

“Surprisingly, more people are willing to give their blood compared to those receiving it. Many patients are not willing to get blood because they are afraid. They are not sure whether the blood is safe. People are anxious. They do not understand that the blood is safe,” she said.

According to Musenero, the donated blood from recovered patients is safe and should not be a cause of concern. She says the blood undergoes testing by the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services to make sure that no diseases such as HIV/AIDS are passed on.

As of today, 48 people have been infused with the plasma. Dr Bruce Kirenga, a lung expert and an investigator on the plasma study says people are hesitant because they are scared.

“We hope demand will improve. People are scared just as it was with HIV treatment when they were first introduced,” he said.

Dr Musenero says they are planning to carry out sensitization among patients on the safety of the plasma.

“We need to talk to them. At first, people were scared about ARVs or even testing for HIV. They thought they would be infected. We think if we explain how the plasma works, more people will be willing to get especially since it looks like the only available option now,” she said.



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