AIIMS begins plasma therapy, 200 Tablighi members begin donation
After Lok Nayak hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is set to begin plasma therapy for those with severe Covid-19 infections. The collection of plasma from over 350 eligible members of the Tablighi Jamaat started on Monday at the Covid Care Centres in Sultanpuri and Narela. Twenty-five donations have already been received.
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.
“We have collected plasma from a couple of donors already and now we are looking for a suitable recipient for the therapy—someone who is admitted to the intensive care unit, yet can tolerate the therapy,” Dr DK Sharma, medical superintendent of AIIMS, said.
The therapy is usually administered to those with a respiratory rate higher than 30 (normal is 20), with an oxygen saturation of less than 90% (normal is 95% to 100%), or to those who have pus in their lungs.
Patients suspected to have Covid-19 are being admitted to the new private ward in the hospital, those with mild symptoms are being moved to AIIMS Jhajjar and those with severe symptoms to the AIIMS trauma centre.
“The plasma can be collected at any of the three places, but will be administered only at the trauma centre where the really ill patients are admitted,” Sharma said.
In the absence of a vaccine or drug, hospitals are looking at plasma therapy for the treatment of critical Covid-19 patients.
So far, at least six people have received the therapy via these trials at Lok Nayak hospital.
The government currently has limited approval to conduct a randomised control trial of the therapy upon 20 critical patients, half of whom will receive 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.
“Delhi needs to have a bank of around 200 Covid-19 plasma donations; we cannot wait for a donation when a sick person comes to the hospital. Anybody who has recovered from the infection—meaning 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,” said Dr SK Sarin, director, ILBS.
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