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Blood banks unable to meet plasma demand with shortage of donors

PUNE With a rising demand for plasma in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, blood banks are facing a crunch, given shortage of plasma donors
By Jigar Hindocha
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 07:16 PM IST

PUNE With a rising demand for plasma in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, blood banks are facing a crunch, given shortage of plasma donors.

The demand for plasma has increased from the third week of February after the surge in Covid cases.

On Friday, 1,767 people tested positive in Pune district, which takes the tally of total active cases 18,401.

“We are again getting 50 to 60 calls per day, for the last 20 days. Demand was almost nil in January and early February, but suddenly we are getting many calls. Finding donors is the biggest problem for us as many don’t have the amount of antibodies required to donate plasma, while a few are not willing to give,” explained Dr Rachana Deshpande, Indian Serological Institute, Sadashiv peth.

Blood banks are also struggling, as they have got many such names on their list of persons that have been healed from the Covid-19 virus eight months ago. Such persons cannot become plasma donors as antibodies do not stay in the body for such a long time.

A recovered Covid-19 patient can donate plasma between 28 days and three months of full recovery.

“We are only able to meet 50 per cent of the demand, as we are short of plasma,” said Dr Shankar Mosalagi, blood transfusion officer at Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital (YCMH), where there are 20 calls per day for plasma.

Between January and the second week of February YCMH used to only get two-three calls per day.

“We are making calls to people every day, but very few are showing an interest in donating plasma,” added Dr Sarika Patil, Aadhar blood centre, Dhankawadi.

Plasma dontation in PMC/PCMC as of March 5

Number of blood banks providing plasma: 21

Total donors: 3,719

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