Microsoft recently announced the release of Plasma Bot, a self-screening device that can be used by revived COVID-19 patients to test if they can donate plasma. The method was developed by the company based in Redmond, in collaboration with the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance, which seeks to create a COVID-19 treatment based on the plasma obtained from healed patients.
Although there is no known cure for COVID-19 disease, researchers around the world are researching alternative therapies, and one of them is plasma therapy with convalescence. During convalescent plasma therapy, patients are given a serum made of recovered patients’ blood plasma which contains virus-neutralizing antibodies. The serum should include passive immunization to help infectious patients grow their immunity.
Previously, this type of plasma treatment was used to treat patients diagnosed with Hiv, H1N1, SARS, and MERS. The drug has been used for a long time now since it was already used during the Flu pandemic of 1918. But, provided that the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is recent, plasma usage is still being researched.
In India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is helping organizations perform two different studies about convalescent plasma and therapeutic plasma exchange experimental procedures. Having been approved for critical cases by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the treatment was implemented in the U.S. based on such criteria.
The CoVIg-19 Plasma Partnership is targeted, according to Microsoft, at testing a new treatment called a polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-Ig), which is a particular method that utilizes plasma on a wide scale. The corporation notes various benefits of the H-Ig process such as the reduced chance of the movement of bacteria from the source to a recipient, longer shelf-life and fast delivery.
The business states in its blog, “In the processing process of the drug, numerous plasma contributions are gathered together and the antibodies are extracted to reasonable and stable amounts, ensuring the medication can be administered in lower quantities and therefore it can take less time to prescribe to patients than plasma itself”
But, the alliance’s first step is to gather plasma samples from registered recovered COVID-19 patients, and this is where plasma bot joins. In the U.S., donors can test their fitness to donate blood plasma by Plasma Bot. Eligible donors will then make contributions at one of the 500 centers run by member companies of CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance. Microsoft also said the bot would also be available via social media and search sites, in addition to the website.
CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance name makes use of the ‘I’ and ‘g’ of immune globulin, the solution that will be used to build the research medication. The partnership is made up of plasma companies such as Biotest, BPL, LFB, and Octapharma along with CSL Behring and Takeda, which have Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation advisory funding.