Delhi’s second plasma bank inaugurated at Lok Nayak hospital
Unlike the centre at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, plasma received at Lok Nayak hospital will be used for its own patients to ensure that more people receive the therapy at the Covid-19 hospital.Updated: Jul 15, 2020 06:48 IST
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday inaugurated the city’s second convalescent plasma bank at Delhi’s biggest treatment facility for patients with coronavirus disease (Covid-19)—the 2,000-bed Lok Nayak hospital.
The Delhi government had opened the country’s first plasma bank at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj on July 2. Another plasma bank which is yet to start operating is at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, the biggest hospital in the trans-Yamuna region. It has been converted into a dedicated Covid-19 hospital.
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“Today, Lok Nayak hospital started plasma collection. Till the time a vaccine is developed, plasma will help save lives. I am not saying that it can save 100% of the people, but it can save some lives. And, it had a role in reducing Delhi’s death rate as well. One of the benefits of having the bank in Lok Nayak hospital is that it is located at the centre of the city and it will be easier for people to come here and donate,” Kejriwal said while visiting the plasma bank on Tuesday morning.
Convalescent plasma therapy uses the blood component plasma — rich in virus-fighting antibodies from patients who have recovered from the infection — to aid the immune system of Covid-19 patients. It is still an experimental therapy that has been approved by the health ministry for use in patients whose need for oxygen increases despite providing oxygen support and steroids.
Unlike the centre at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, plasma received at Lok Nayak hospital will be used for its own patients to ensure that more people receive the therapy at the hospital.
“The plasma will be used for treating patients at the hospital. We have many sick patients and we need to serve the poor. So far, we were providing the therapy only under a clinical trial. Now, with the apheresis machine and bank in place, we will be able to provide the therapy to more patients, even outside the trial. Having an in-house bank will also mean that we will not have to wait to get the plasma from ILBS and can administer it to patients as and when needed” Dr Suresh Kumar, the medical director of Lok Nayak hospital, said.
The hospital has so far provided the therapy only to 60 patients, including the 29 patients who were administered the therapy under the COPLA I trial whose results prompted the government to set up the bank. The initial trial had shown an improved respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and organ failure score in patients who received the convalescent plasma. Their duration of stay in the intensive care unit, as well as the hospital, also went down.
The hospital has one apheresis machine—a device to separate the blood components—that can collect plasma from eight to ten donors in a day. “We are planning to run it round the clock later to ensure about 15 to 20 donations a day. Plus, one unit of plasma donated by a recovered patient can be used for two sick patients,” Dr Kumar said.
The hospital has already discharged over 3,600 Covid-19 patients, many of whom are eligible to donate plasma.