200 Tablighi Jamaat members, who have recovered, pledge to donate plasma
Over 200 members of the Tablighi Jamaat who have recovered from the Covid-19 infection have pledged to donate plasma to help those admitted to city hospitals with severe infections. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday urged everyone who has recovered from Covid-19 to donate plasma without thinking on religious lines.
“The people have been tested; the collection will begin now,” a senior official from Delhi’s health department said.
Of the over 2,300 people evacuated from the Nizamuddin Markaz in March-end, 1,080 had tested positive for the infection; many have now recovered.
So far, 869 people have recovered from the infection in the city.
“I was wondering, what if any patient, who is a Hindu, and is in a serious situation, is saved by the plasma extracted from the blood collected from the body of a Muslim person (who has been cured of Covid-19)? What if we come across cases in which plasma extracted from the blood of a Hindu person is found to have saved the life of a Muslim person?” Kejriwal said in a video media briefing.
He further said, “God did not differentiate between individuals. It is us who have started to differentiate between humans based on faith. Coronavirus disease can happen to anyone irrespective of one’s faith… A Hindu person’s blood plasma can save a Muslim person’s life and a Muslim person’s blood plasma can save a Hindu person’s life. But, why have we created walls? At least, the virus has taught us that if we stand united, nothing can defeat us. And if we are divided among ourselves, we shall lose the battle. While donating plasma, one should not think on such (religious) lines.”
So far, the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), which handles plasma collection, has received about nine donations, with a few more scheduled to take place on Monday.
“Delhi needs a bank of around 200 Covid-19 plasma donations; we cannot wait for donation when a sick person comes to the hospital. Anybody who has recovered from the infection—two consecutive samples have tested negative—and has completed two more weeks of quarantine can donate plasma. People who have recovered can donate plasma every seven to ten days,” Dr SK Sarin, director, ILBS, said.
The person has to be healthy to donate plasma—normal weight, haemoglobin of over 12, with no history of diabetes or hypertension. The doctors have found good levels of antibodies around three weeks after the infection.
The government currently has limited approval to conduct a randomised control trial of the therapy for 20 critical patients, half of whom will receive the antibody-rich plasma and the other half a placebo (which is devoid of any therapeutic value). This will help test whether the plasma actually helps heal those with Covid-19.
The therapy will be administered to those with a respiratory rate higher than 30 (normal is 20), have an oxygen saturation of less than 90% (normal is 95 to 100%), or those who have pus in their lungs.
The plasma will be able to save critical Covid-19 patients, Kejriwal highlighted, citing an example of a Covid-19 patient in serious condition, who was administered the therapy and has improved in the last 24 hours.
Convalescent plasma therapy uses a blood component called plasma—which contains virus-fighting antibodies—from people who have recovered from the infection to treat those who are severely ill with Covid-19.