Did you know that plasma therapies, especially those based on immunoglobulin, play an immense role in the lives of people affected by Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID)?
What is CVID?
CVID, which affects 1 in 25,000 people worldwide, is an antibody deficiency that impairs the immune system. In its weakened state, the immune system becomes highly prone to repeated and often severe bacterial and viral infections.
The tissues most frequently affected by CVID are those of the lungs, ears, and sinuses. The extent of its severity ranges from pneumonia (which is quite common), to permanent damage to the respiratory tract. That said, due to an impaired immune system, people fighting with CVID are also prone to certain kinds of cancer.
Signs of CVID
The most common signs and symptoms of CVID are:
Lung infections, such as pneumonia, characterized by breathing difficulties
While these are all common infections that we all suffer from, patients with CVID suffer from them more frequently due to their weakened immune systems.
Causes of CVID
Most cases of CVID are diagnosed in adulthood, in equal numbers among men and women, between the ages of 20-50. However, the cause of 90% of these cases is unknown.
Today, while we have identified a few genetic causes, its precise cause is still unknown. In fact, CVID is rarely inherited (less than 10% cases) and seems to occur randomly. It is, therefore, attributed to a very complex interaction of, both, the patient’s genes, and their environment.
What is known is the outcome of this complex interaction.
The immune system of a patient suffering from CVID is deficient in immunoglobulins, or what is commonly known as antibodies. These are proteins that help our immune system to identify and ultimately kill disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria or a virus, that have invaded our body. In fact, many patients are deficient in two or even three kinds of these antibodies.
Hence the reason patients with CVID rely on plasma therapies.
Plasma therapies are essentially concentrated antibodies extracted from the plasma donated by healthy, voluntary donors. To these patients, the therapies provide an external supply of antibodies, enabling their immune system to function well, and enabling them to live a happier and healthier life.
How Can You Help
Voluntarily donated plasma is the biggest source of plasma that is used to treat patients with numerous diseases and afflictions including CVID. By donating plasma, donors save lives and are also compensated for their time while they donate.
Want to donate plasma? Find more information here.