Covid-19: Plasma therapy to start in eight north Bengal districts
West Bengal health department’s data showed that 30,510 people have recovered from their viral infectionUpdated: Sep 20, 2020, 09:55 IST
The West Bengal government will start plasma therapy for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients in eight districts in north Bengal next week. So far, 28 recovered patients have donated their blood for plasma extraction.
The eight districts in the region have reported 312 deaths, while 34,959 have been infected by SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, until Friday.
West Bengal health department’s data showed that 30,510 people have recovered from their viral infection.
Anirban Roy, a dentist, who had tested Covid-19 positive on June 4, was the first donor for the plasma therapy.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has allowed convalescent plasma to be used for moderately ill Covid-19 patients.
Convalescent plasma therapy involves extraction of plasma from the blood of Covid-19 patients four weeks after they have been cured of their viral infection. The extracted plasma is injected into Covid-19 patients. The antibody that develops in a recovered patient helps other Covid-19 patients to fight the virus.
The state government has decided to set up Convalescent Covid-19 Plasma (CCP) banks in 20 state-run Blood Component Separation Units (BCSU).
The North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) in Siliguri, the region’s biggest town, is the first healthcare facility to collect whole blood from recovered Covid-19 patients and segregate the plasma.
Dr Mridumoy Das, the director of the regional blood bank at NBMCH, said, “So far, 28 patients have donated their blood. We hope to start plasma therapy early next week.”
Dr Roy had severe pneumonia and also bled from the mouth during his treatment. He had donated his blood at NBMCH on August 31.
Dr Roy is an active member of Covid Care Network, a forum of doctors, who are treating patients and many of whom were infected by the viral infection as well. He is also spreading awareness about the importance of plasma therapy.
“We need to create more awareness to encourage the public to donate blood in a bid to save other lives. Unfortunately, the response is poor to date,” he said.
Kalyan Khan, an associate professor at the pathology department in NBMCH, said, “Although plasma therapy is not the magic potion to kill the virus, it has shown encouraging results in Delhi and Mumbai. It increases a patient’s ability to fight the viral infection.”