The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Sunday said the Federal Government is working on research, using plasma from the blood of recovered Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients to treat people infected with the virus.
Ehanire said this while answering questions from journalists in Abuja on the possibility of using plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients to treat serious cases.
The minister, who spoke at a news conference to commemorate the World Blood Donor Day (WBDD), said some research institutes were already working on the new research.
According to him, plasma of patients recovered from COVID-19 is called Convalescent plasma.
“It is believed that persons who suffered COVID-19 and have recovered will have antibodies inside their plasma, which can be used to treat others.
“It can be used to treat others who are not able to build antibodies fast enough or those who are suffering from a severe form of the virus.
“Yes, our research centres are participating in looking at what advantages and benefits can come out of convalescent plasma.
“I have seen this particular research in Lagos; it is part of what will be studied and the result will be published so research is going on it.’’
The approach was used by Guinea in the Ebola epidemic in 2014, prior to the availability of Ebola vaccines and therapies.
Also, in Mauritius, 150 people who have recovered from COVID-19 have indicated they are willing to give plasma in line with the national decision to use serum plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients in intensive care.
The minister, however, urged Nigerians to donate blood to save lives of those in need, adding that people should shun some myths surrounding blood donation.
“Myths are part of ignorance that education should fight and stakeholders are supposed to enlighten people on this issue, that your blood is something that can save somebody life.
“The blood is regenerated in your system; your body is stimulated to replace that blood donated so that blood that you donated, very soon, it is filled by your system.
According to him, the ministry attached great importance to the celebration of the World Blood Donor Day, globally celebrated on June 14 and has to redesign the activities to mark the day during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“We still have to go ahead and mark the day following the guideline of wearing our facemask and observing physical distancing.
Also reacting was Mr. Kinsley Odiabara, Director, National Laboratory Manager, National Blood Transfusion Service, also thanked regular blood donors, especially the youth for donating blood to save lives.
Odiabara also urged other youth to embrace voluntary blood donation for the country to meet up with the World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulation.
WHO stipulates that at least one per cent of the population must be able to donate blood regularly to be able to meet up with the blood needs of a country.