From January to June, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has evolved from an isolated disease in a region of China to a global pandemic that has brought countries to a standstill, pushed hospital systems to the brink, and dragged the global economy into a recession.

From less than a million cases in February, and currently has more than 10 million cases across the globe, doctors across the globe have been able to recover more than 5 million COVID patients, with a loss of less than half a million souls. These patients can help improve the recovery rate by donating their plasma. With a vaccine still a long way away, plasma therapy has been developed as an experimental cure for COVID till now.

Plasma Therapy involves transfusion of antibodies from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 (convalescent coronavirus patient) into a critical patient. The therapy is based on the principle that the blood of a recovered patient is rich in antibodies needed to combat COVID-19, as these Y shaped proteins produced by a human body is used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses. These antibodies are expected to help critical patients recover.

What it does

As a vaccine is still a long way away, plasma therapy has been developed as an experimental cure for COVID till now. But the success of plasma therapy has taken a back seat in treating critically-ill COVID-19 patients due to a severe shortage of plasma donors as newly-recovered patients are either reluctant or difficult to trace, reported The Economic Times.

Therefore, I aimed to bridge this gap by finding qualified plasma donors in a situation where time is running out and matching them(plasma donors) to plasma requests by patients. Thus this sets an objective for my web app - Plasma Desk.

Plasma Desk will help us to find donors and will also help us to track all the important resources one can always need like nearby hospitals, banks, etc which is fitted with a standard algorithm that puts special emphasis on the situation and is equipped with a dynamic interactive dashboard depending on the user's real-time location.

How Plasma Desk matches?

  1. As a donor, you can register on our site with your reports and basic details
  2. A caller will contact you and check your eligibility for donation
  3. A blood test will be done to screen you for safe plasma donation
  4. We will arrange transport to take you to the blood bank for plasma donation
  5. Your plasma is now ready to save a life

How I built it

I have implemented multiple APIs throughout the project, which is compatible with Google's original Firebase which gives the user a seamless experience during this epidemic. I have integrated many APIs with geolocation services (Google Cloud Map API + Here Map API) and real-time notification applications (PushBot) to provide more flexibility to the user.

Various Google Cloud Products and APIs for this project:

  • Firebase Authentication - Login and Signup Users
  • Firebase Firestore - Storage of User Info
  • Firebase Cloud Storage - Store Donor and receiver information
  • Google Analytics - Understand Users on the Platform
  • Google Maps API - Nearby locations to the user for basic amenities
  • Node.js & Express.js - Frameworks to build our website
  • Heroku Hosting - Host our site
  • Bootstrap - CSS Framework

Challenges I ran into

  1. Google cloud integration
  2. Route sub-connections
  3. Firebase Database issues
  4. Limited Google Cloud Experience
  5. Limited amount of Google Cloud credits
  6. Difficulties merging frontend with the backend.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  1. Proud of using the Google Cloud Platform
  2. Integration of real-time Forms and Database
  3. Creating Donor and Patient sub-connection
  4. Interactive Dashboard
  5. Amenities Tracking

What I learned

  1. API integration
  2. Google cloud and maps
  3. Database sub-connections
  4. Advanced web development skills

What's next for Plasma Desk

  • Implement more Google Cloud products
  • AI-based messenger bot
  • Expanding it to hospitals and bed management system
  • Integration with WhatsApp and over the phone call
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