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Understanding Plasma Therapy

Have two negative tests to SARS-CoV-2 at an interval of 24 hours on nasal swabs

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As the wait for the Covid-19 vaccine continues, the battle rages on. Scores of people have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus, many have succumbed, and many more have recovered from the infection as well.

For those patients who successfully overcome the virus, social media is inundated with requests that they donate their plasma for Convalescent Plasma Therapy – a treatment considered to be beneficial to patients who have tested positive.

‘Plasma’ is the liquid component in the blood that carries antibodies, hormones and various nutrients across the body. Convalescent Plasma is the plasma collected from people who were infected and have made a complete recovery; these people develop antibodies which are of vital importance. Antibodies are proteins used by the body to fight off infections and thus provide immunity to those who have beaten Covid-19. The plasma of these patients is transfused into the blood of patients are fighting Covid-19.

The therapy may be specifically beneficial to those who are extremely sick and haven’t responded to other treatments – often developing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which may require ventilator support, informs Dr Farah Ingale.

“While there isn’t sufficient data to back its efficacy, Convalescent Plasma Therapy is reported to help patients who are at higher risk, such as those with comorbidities like heart disease or Diabetes, or those who have weakened immune systems,” stated Dr Ingale, who is Director-Internal Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, tells IANSlife.

What are the functions of blood plasma?

Antibodies once bound to the virus, neutralise it The antibodies activate the pathways and help prevent further damage to cells Reduces the overall viral load

Plasma transfused from at least two donors provides diverse antibodies, thus delivering greater protection to the immune system

How can you become a plasma donor?

A donor must wait up to 14-28 days after full recovery before being approved to donate, the person must: Not have fever

Not have any respiratory difficulties

Have normal oxygen levels i.e. between 95 percent and 100 percent Have overall good health

At the time of infection, a valid and official diagnostic test must be done to confirm SARS-CoV Undergo standard procedure to rule out HIV, Hepatitis B & C virus, etc.

Have two negative tests to SARS-CoV-2 at an interval of 24 hours on nasal swabs

How is plasma collected?

Blood Plasma is collected through a procedure called Plasmapheresis which usually takes around 45minutes During this procedure, blood is drawn and the plasma is separated; the blood cells and platelets are then returned to the donor It can also be drawn from whole blood

Plasma is rather swiftly replenished in the body. The general volume of plasma to be collected is between 300ml to 600ml Once the plasma is extracted, it is frozen at -18O C or colder within 24 hours of extraction. It can be stored for up to 12 months from the date of extraction

Are repeat plasma donations done?

If a donor may wish to donate once again, if done previously by the Plasmapheresis method – he/ she should wait for about seven days If whole blood was donated, the ideal wait time is around eight weeks before the next donation It is important to note that the treatment is at an experimental stage and is not yet proven to be fully effective for Covid-19, the doctor concludes.

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Moderna says its Covid-19 vaccine works against new variants

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 US-based drugmaker Moderna on Monday said its Covid-19 vaccine retains neutralising activity against emerging variants first identified in the UK and South Africa.

A two-dose regimen of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be protective against emerging variants detected to date, the company said.

Moderna, however, said it would test a vaccine booster against the South Africa variant in pre-clinical trials to see if that would be more effective in boosting antibodies against the variant and other future variants.

Although all viruses mutate constantly, scientists are concerned about the mutations discovered in Britain and South Africa because they are believed to be capable of altering key functions of the virus.

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The goodness of Argan oil

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Argan oil has traditionally been used topically to improve the health of skin, hair, and nails. It contains a number of different beneficial properties and vitamins that form a powerful combination to boost skin health.

Dr Geeta Grewal – cosmetic surgeon, beauty and health wellness expert explains some prominent uses of the oil for health, skin and hair.

Night Moisturiser

Argan oil absorbs quickly and does not leave an oily residue. In the winter months you may need a second drop but remember to use sparingly. This oil is safe and gentle to use around your eyes. Vitamin A and Vitamin E present in the oil can help to reduce fine wrinkles and keep this delicate area moisturized.

Skin Toner

Toning is an important step in your skin care routine. For an all-over glow, add 3-4 drops of your favourite toner, make your own chemical-free, natural toner at home.

Exfoliant

To experience the argon oil benefits while exfoliating, pay special attention to acne-prone areas and areas that are dry.

Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while giving you a younger, fresher complexion. With the aid of the brown sugar, argon oil’s nutrients are more readily absorbed into your skin. Use this exfoliator for more than just your face. If you have dry elbows or heels, mix up a bit more to massage the dry and dead skin away.

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Natural antioxidants can keep heart, cancer diseases at bay

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If you want to keep your immune system strong for fighting cardiovascular diseases or cancer, start taking natural antioxidants as health experts on Sunday stressed that it helps in improving overall health by providing many other health benefits.

According to experts, antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals, which play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you’re exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.

The latest antioxidant which is produced for the first time in India is gamma oryzanol, which is very quickly gaining popularity as a super antioxidant.

It is a substance that is taken out of rice bran oil. It is also found in wheat bran and some fruits and vegetables.

The experts said that gamma oryzanol is used for high cholesterol, symptoms of menopause and many other conditions.

“Gamma oryzanol is useful for controlling elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, supporting cardiovascular health along with controlling menopausal symptoms. Gamma oryzanol helps lower cholesterol because it helps decrease cholesterol absorption and increase cholesterol elimination. Along with this, it is also known to boost metabolic rate and may help with weight loss,” Swapna Chaturvedi, senior dietician, Department of Dietetics, AIIMS told IANS.

As gamma oryzanol is found to be effective in controlling high cholesterol level in the body, it is registered in Japan and the US as a natural medicine to treat hyperlipidemia/dyslipidaemia (elevated cholesterol levels/unhealthy cholesterol levels.

Most research shows that taking natural antioxidants decreases total cholesterol, “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood fats called triglycerides in people with high cholesterol.

“It also helps in preventing heart attack by preventing platelet aggregation, a system where platelets blood gets stuck together and form clots that block arteries,” said Praveen Chandra, Head of Department, Interventional Cardiology, Medanta, The Medicity in Gurugram.

The experts mentioned that gamma oryzanol is also used for increasing testosterone and human growth hormone levels, as well as improving strength during resistance exercise training.

Gamma oryzanol also helps to inhibit different cancers in the body and builds immunity to fight cancer cells.

“Many of the antioxidants have proven beneficial in inhibiting the cancers at various stages. Gamma oryzanol has been found out to be effective antioxidant which comes from rice bran and helps in preventing cancer if taken for a long period,” said Rahul Bhargava, Director, Institute of Blood Disorder and BMT, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi.

Gamma oryzanol is basically activator of NK cells which gives the cancer cells a check.

It not only works through NK cells but also inhibits angiogenesis. It means it cuts the supply for the cancer cells to grow and increases your body’s own immunity to gather the strength to kill cancers.

“Gamma oryzanol also prevents cancers and studies show it helps in regressing the prostate cancer cells,” Bhargava noted.

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