Microsoft has launched a new ‘Plasma Bot’ to help with the treatment of the COVID-19 disease.
The newly developed Bot functions in a manner that is similar to the automated symptom-checker but it focuses on determining a person’s eligibility for donating plasma. This could help scientists in devising a reliable convalescent plasma-based therapy for COVID-19 patients who are seriously ill.
Plasma therapy: A promising solution
The work on finding a vaccine/drug for the novel coronavirus disease is going on. Unfortunately, things are not moving fast enough to match the speed at which the virus is spreading.
Amid all this, convalescent plasma therapy, which is a century-old treatment, has shown some promise. The treatment involves transfusion of blood plasma from those who have recovered from the disease. More and more clinical evidence is suggesting that plasma therapy may help novel coronavirus patients to recover faster.
Microsoft to help with the development of plasma-based medicine
Due to the growing evidence of the effectiveness of this treatment, Microsoft is now supporting the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance in developing a new “polyclonal hyperimmune globulin” plasma therapy. The alliance has been formed by leading biotech companies including BPL, Biotest, and LFB.
The method depends on blood plasma. However, instead of transfusing the plasma directly into the patients, it is based on pooling multiple samples for concentrating the antibodies and creating an effective medication for this deadly disease.
Role of the new Plasma Bot
Microsoft’s new Plasma Bot has been launched to collect samples from patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus disease, so that the work on this new medication may start.
The tool can be accessed through the alliance website and eventually on search/social/web channels. It puts forward several questions to determine if a person qualifies as a potential plasma donor. The tool then directs the person to the closest collection center.
Eligibility will depend on several factors
The Plasma Bot will take into consideration various factors in order to determine whether a person is eligible to donate plasma. It will also ask questions about the person’s medications for allergies or other conditions.
This way, the company can rule out unhealthy candidates and collect plasma samples from those people who are healthy and have recovered completely from the disease (presumably) with a high count of antibodies.
Human trials for the developed treatment
Once enough samples have been collected from the donors, the new medication will have to go through clinical trials for approval to be used on COVID-19 patients.
The Company said, “The sooner recovered COVID-19 patients donate convalescent plasma, the sooner the Alliance may be able to start manufacturing a potential therapy and begin clinical trials.”
“These trials will determine if this therapy could treat patients” it added.
According to Microsoft, if developed successfully, the new plasma-based medication could take less time for administering to the patients. Moreover, it will minimize the risk of any unknown bacteria or virus that could be passed from the donor to the patient. It will also offer a longer shelf-life for easy storage and shipping.