Adaya Gonzalez |
San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid), June 25 (EFE).- Spain has to increase the number of plasma donors to be self-sufficient and not have to buy it abroad: it needs at least 1.1 million liters of this essential raw material for the survival of many patients, 758,000 liters more than what it produces.
“Plasma is the basic starting material for many medicines, economically important and subject to a high risk of interruption in supply,” summarized Cristina Arbona, technical director of the Foundation for Quality in Transfusion, Cellular and Tissue Therapy (FCAT). ), during the VII HematoAvanza Dissemination Conference of the Spanish Society of Hematology and Hemotherapy (SEHH) held this week.
This component accounts for 55% of the total volume of blood; In addition to white and red blood cells and platelets, it contains a multitude of proteins, among which immunoglobulins stand out, which protect against infections, or albumin, which transports hormones and drugs to the tissues.
30,000 dependent patients in Spain
With it, transfusions are made to people who have suffered major burns or accidents because it helps to stop bleeding and recover blood volume, but most of it is used to make blood products for the treatment of primary immunodeficiencies or pathologies such as Kawasaki disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome or immune thrombocytopenia.
In the EU, around 300,000 patients depend on these drugs, more than 30,000 of them in Spain; Forecasts suggest that in 2026 93.2 million liters of plasma will be needed to cover the global demand for immunoglobulins, compared to the 57.8 million liters required in 2018. In Europe, 23.4 million liters will be needed. liters.
England, Italy and Spain are the countries with the greatest plasma deficit; In our country the consumption of immunoglobulin has skyrocketed by 106%, but the increase in production has remained at 66.8%, with which its self-sufficiency -for which it is necessary to reach 80% of autochthonous plasma- has dropped from 43% in 2011 to 34.3% in 2021.
That is, it has produced 407,857 liters of plasma when it needs 1,166,007. 758,150 more liters would be missing.
Regarding albumin, consumption has increased by 76%, but production has remained at 51.4%, with which the percentage of self-sufficiency has fallen 10 points from 69% to 59%; Almost 300,000 more liters would be necessary to reach 673,959 compared to the 407,857 liters collected.
United States, main supplier
The EU realized the serious shortage of plasma in 2017, and since then it has been alleviating its needs from third countries, especially the United States, where these donations are financially compensated, while the basic European principle is that any donation of any plasma substance human origin must be altruistic.
This principle was noted during the first year of the pandemic, when the plasma donated in Europe “did not drop excessively.” “The European perfectly understands that it is a necessity and there was nothing more than a 5% decrease, something that did not happen in the United States,” Arbona has assessed.
Little by little, the urgency of this yellowish liquid has been gaining visibility “and it no longer sounds strange”; in fact, Spain has been working on a National Plasma Plan for some time.
The donation is made by plasmapheresis, which has the advantage of allowing a greater frequency of donations -up to 6 times a year-, and can be alternated with that of blood. It is a simple and safe technique with no more discomfort than the conventional one, except for its duration, which reaches 45 minutes.
Goal, 100,000 donors
According to the latest data available from the Ministry of Health, corresponding to 2021, a total of 65,036 plasmapheresis were performed that year, 28.7% more than a year earlier.
With the campaign “Shape what you have inside. Salva vidas DONANDO PLASMA” launched a few months ago -parallel to the one that the communities have also been deploying-, Health has set itself the goal of reaching 100,000 donors of this component, for which it is not necessary to have more than 18 and 65 years old, weigh more than 50 kilos and be in good health.
Last year, the Spanish Association for Primary Immune Deficits (AEDIP) promoted a Spanish consensus in defense of the sufficiency of blood products sealed by patient organizations, blood donors and scientific societies, in which the shortage of plasma donations is attributed to the lack of political prioritization, information and facilities to donate and the rigid infrastructure for plasma donation.
“The centers have to be prepared, have trained personnel, with sufficient machines and equipment; we have to recognize and give security to donors and develop contingency plans”, points out Arbona, who is nonetheless optimistic because “Spain is extraordinarily supportive”.