Determining Doctors’ Perception of the Plasma Therapy Use for COVID-19 Patients

Several countries across the globe are coming up with innovative solutions to curb the menace of the COVID-19 pandemic. One such critical aspect is making a shift to plasma-based therapy as a potential treatment for a patient suffering from COVID-19. Plasma therapy involves the use of the blood donated from recovered COVID-19 patients (as it contains antibodies against the virus) in those undergoing the treatment.

Objective: Determining doctors’ perception of the use of plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients

A total of 147 doctors participated in the survey- General Practitioner (43%), Pediatrician (5%), Dentist (9%), and Others (43%)

  1. When the doctors were asked if they were aware of plasma-based based therapy for COVID-19, 71% responded that they were moderately aware

  2. When the doctors were asked if plasma therapy is a treatment measure or preventive measure, 65% responded that plasma therapy is a treatment measure

  3. Around 47% of the doctors responded that cumulative experience of plasma therapy should be used to start treatment with plasma therapy, while 31% responded that they should wait for concrete evidence to start using plasma therapy

  4. When the doctors were asked how often plasma therapy could cause immunogenic reactions, 54% of them responded often and 41% responded rarely

  5. When the doctors were asked what steps the government should take to raise awareness of plasma therapy, 37% responded that an expert council should be created to communicate new findings

  6. When the doctors were asked about the reasons for a patient rejecting plasma therapy, 44% responded stating a fear of side effects

Our survey revealed that most of the doctors were aware of the use of plasma therapy in COVID-19 patients. Many doctors also responded that plasma therapy can often cause side effects. This fear of side-effects could be another reason that patients why most of the patients refrain from it being used as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

The USFDA recommends COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma therapy for investigational use. Currently, plasma therapy is only recommended for severe COVID-19 patients. Theoretically, plasma therapy should be effective in the treatment of the disease but often in-vivo results are different. Governments should expedite the approvals for large-scale clinical trials of plasma therapy to determine its effectiveness. Forming an international panel of experts will help in communicating the right guidelines for using this therapy. It can also be noted from our survey that plasma therapy can be rejected based on the fear of side effects. More research into this therapy will help formulate guidelines to eliminate avoidable side effects. Currently, most of the efforts are directed towards stopping the spread of this highly contagious virus. Focusing on finding treatment options such as plasma therapy should be made a priority.

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