How Microsoft Plasma Bot helps during COVID-19
Microsoft has announced another effort to assist within the global fight against coronavirus by Microsoft Plasma Bot. This time, it’s teaming up with the so-called ‘CoVId-19’ plasma alliance, which is funded partially by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
A core part of the service is that the company’s Plasma Bot, a reasonably simple chat-based multiple choice survey that determines whether an individual is eligible to donate blood. It covers factors like how way back an individual was infected if they meet minimum health requirements, and whether or not they have underlying health conditions like HIV. Upon meeting all of these criteria, it refers users to their nearest plasma collection center.
In reality, the bot does nothing an internet site wizard couldn’t. Answer with anything aside from ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and it’ll tell you it doesn’t understand. However, the approachable form factor is more likely to appeal, especially if Microsoft expands to services like Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Telegram.
The need for plasma, during this case, isn’t for direct transfusions, except for use during a therapy called polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-lg). This method pools plasma donations from multiple survivors to make a more reliable solution and hopefully minimize risk and administration time.
“The medicine is often delivered in lower volumes and thus would likely take less time to administer to patients than plasma itself,” explains Microsoft. “The H-Ig process also minimizes the risk of any known virus or bacteria passing from donor to patient, because of the rigorous virus inactivation and removal steps that are embedded within the plasma product manufacturing process. Finally, H-Ig also features a longer time period, which allows easier storage and shipping for any outbreaks within the future.”
With this method, the alliance could also be ready to save many lives before a vaccine is developed. Research indicates that over 50% of eligible plasma donors live within 15 miles of CovIg’s 500 centers, and there are further plans to expand into Europe. Plasma donation takes about an hour and will help save many lives.