Udayavni Special

Plasma therapy: Getting donors is challenging, say officials


PTI, Apr 23, 2020, 5:05 PM IST

Mumbai: Even as the Indian Council of Medical Research has allowed plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients in Mumbai on an experimental basis, the challenge is to convince people to donate blood for it, officials said on Thursday.

Also, extracting plasma from blood, its testing and then administering it to a patient is a complicated procedure and not as simple as it may appear on paper, they said.

“The therapy involves extraction of plasma from the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients. These people are expected to have good amount of anti-bodies, which, by way of plasma, will be administered to COVID-19 patients,” a senior epidemiologist from the Maharashtra health department said.

The dose of plasma along with the ongoing medication will help the patient to build immunity as well as recover faster from the infection, he said.

However, a Mumbai civic official said till Tuesday, only a couple of persons came forward to donate blood for the therapy, even as nearly 500 people have so far been discharged in the city after recovering from the disease.

“We need to convince them to come forward and help others. After recovering, people have to remain in 14-day mandatory home quarantine from the date of discharge. Hence, it is difficult to collect their blood sample,” he said, adding that medically also it is not advisable.

The official said plasma therapy is a complicated procedure and not as simple as it may appear on paper.

“The extraction of plasma, and its testing is crucial before treating others. It should also have sufficient anti- bodies,” he said.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said the state has received permission from the Indian Council of Medical Research to carry out plasma therapy on COVID-19 patients in Mumbai on an experimental basis.

“The plasma of those who have recovered from coronavirus infection has some antibodies. If these people’s plasma is used with utmost precaution, it has proven to be useful,” he said.

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