What Does It Take to Donate Plasma Blood? Covid-19 Survivor Nafisa Ali’s Niece Explains

Coronavirus

What Does It Take to Donate Plasma Blood? Covid-19 Survivor Nafisa Ali’s Niece Explains

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

While 2020 so far seems like a nightmare on loop – and one that we can’t wait to be done with thank you very much – there might still be some positivity to hold on to.

A ray of hope in the fight against coronavirus emerged from Bengaluru, as 36-year-old Diya Naidu became the second plasma donor from the southern state. Her aunt, veteran actress Nafisa Ali shared the news about her “brave” Diya on Instagram. In a follow-up post she urged her followers to go ahead and read Diya’s first-hand experience of donating plasma. “It is the need of the hour,” she captioned. “Help save lives.”

Diya, who is a dancer and choreographer, had returned from Switzerland on March 9. However, she had been quite asymptomatic, showing no signs of listed symptoms like cough, cold, or fever. Instead she developed a complete loss of smell and taste. She went public with her Covid-19 infection following a throat swab test and was admitted to the isolation ward of the ESI Hospital, Indiranagar once her blood test samples came back positive on March 18. She has since recovered and was discharged earlier this month on April 6.

On Monday, April 27, the Covid-19 warrior took to her Instagram to share the details about her plasma donation procedure that she had done the same day. “They have just started an amazing plasma donation effort in Karnataka. The doctors are not allowed, but asked me to put this out there so here it is,” she began her post.

She assured the readers that the donors didn’t have to be afraid of the process, stating that pain was as normal as one would experience with needles, something akin to blood donation, and “a bit of wooziness”. Accompanied with her four-part album from earlier in the day at the hospital, Diya stated the plasma donation process to be “super effective”.

“The blood of a Covid-19 recovered person is taken and separated into red blood cells and plasma,” she explained. “The plasma,” – described as “liquid gold” by Nafisa Ali – “which is full of antibodies is given to a critical patient. What you see here is 1/3rd of the amount they took. This was after [the] first cycle. They do three. Basically that full bag is given to JUST ONE PATIENT.” She also offered to put recovered patients in touch with the doctors concerned.

Naidu will donate again in two weeks. Stating that since she was “only the second person in the state to donate and they were figuring a few things out,” the process duration (four-five hours) was likely to reduce in the future.

Cheering on the medical team for their amazing work, she concluded her post by urging everyone to “try and help them.”

View this post on Instagram

Hello again. Another #covid19 update. They have just started an amazing plasma donation effort in Karnataka.The doctors are not allowed, but asked me to put this out there so here it is. I donated today. This method has been super effective wherever its been tried. The blood of a Covid recovered person is taken and separated into red blood cells and plasma. The plasma ( in pic) which is full of antibodies is given to a critical patient. What you see here is 1/3rd of the amount they took. This was after 1st cycle. They do 3. Basically that full bag is given to JUST ONE PATIENT. This means that the need for donors is pressing. But the process is so hopeful that it's great news.If you know people who have recovered please let them know. If they inbox me I will immediately put them touch with the doctors concerned. Feel free to pass on my number. The red blood cells are then returned to the donors body via the same needle so its very safe. All needles, tubing etc is disposed of as bio hazard. There is nothing to be afraid of. The normal pain that needles bring and a bit of wooziness. I am fine now and during the procedure was given calcium to eat as blood calcium dips. The doctor has asked me to really take care of myself so I can donate again in 2 weeks. It took about 4 to 5 hours or so, from the moment they picked me up to return me as preliminary tests had to be done to make sure I have no renal disease or HIV etc.This time taken will reduce for sure as I was only the 2nd person in the state to donate and they were figuring a few things out.Knowing that it could help a critical patient survive makes any pain, time, energy spent totally worth it.Please let people know that safe and successful ways are being explored and that there is hope. On a side note, it really helped them that I am physically active – in doctor speak, "good veins". The person before me had to donate through the neck as his veins were not large enough! When I asked why, this was their explanation.So do consider doing some regular movement that pumps the veins and muscles and improves the circulation and lung capacity.The medical team were amazing.lets try and help them. #inthistogether

A post shared by Diya Naidu (@diyanise) on

Earlier this month, a 40-year-old HR professional was the first plasma donor in Bengaluru. Only days ago, Delhi reported the country’s first plasma therapy success when a 49-year-old man was taken off ventilator support after the treatment worked and he tested negative.

While our fight against coronavirus is far from over, and the number of positive patients is much higher than that of those who have recovered, it goes without saying that plasma therapy is only the first step in our road to recovery.

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