Gurugram looks at setting up plasma bankUpdated: Jul 04, 2020 23:47 IST
After Delhi, Gurugram too may have its own plasma bank to treat critical patients suffering from Covid-19.
Plans are afoot with the district administration creating a database of more than 4,000 patients who have recovered from the disease and are willing to donate plasma, said health department officials.
Convalescent plasma therapy, in which antibody-rich plasma from recovered patients is injected into recovering individuals to help them stave off infection, has previously been used during the Sars and Mers outbreaks (which were also caused by viruses in the same family as the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19).
Plasma is a major component of a person’s blood, making up almost 55% of it. A plasmapheresis machine separates it from the blood and returns the rest -- the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets -- back into to the donor who typically supplies 300-500 ml of plasma, and the transfusion process takes between 60-90 minutes. Although promising, the effectiveness of the treatment is still in the experimental stage.
However, with many cured patients reluctant to return to hospital and families of patients finding it hard to locate plasma donors, Delhi had earlier this week instituted the country’s first plasma bank at a hospital.
Starting a plasma bank, however, requires a series of approvals from the state government and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for which senior doctors from the state’s Covid-19 nodal hospital - Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) Rohtak – are likely to visit the city next week.
Currently, Gurugram has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the state, which is likely to breach 6000 mark soon. Nearly 4496 patients have recovered till now, and 140 patients are critical. The decision to set up a bank in Gurugram has come at a time when the Haryana health minister Anil Vij on June 30 said that plasma therapy will be started in five medical colleges of the state – Rohtak, Bhiwani, Jhajjar, Sonepat and Nuh
Shubhi Kesarwani, officer in-charge for the project, said, “Our teams in coordination with the Red Cross Society are following up with the recovered patients and maintaining data base. Till now, 500 patients treated for the coronavirus in the city have been approached, out of which 50 are ready to donate their blood for plasma therapy.”
Officials are also studying the details of Delhi’s plasma bank at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), Vasant Kunj. “The proposal is in the initial stages, as we are in talks with doctors at PGIMS Rohtak where convalescent plasma trial has recently started,” said Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer, who is coordinating with Rohtak team. “It is not an easy process. Before anything starts, we need to have facilities where we could check antibodies in the blood that can be transfused. For this we will be sending our plan to the state government for approval.”
Dr Dhruv Chaudhary of PGIMS- Rohtak, who is also the state’s nodal officer Covid-19 tertiary care, said that the proposal from the administration and the health department has been received. “Since the convalescent plasma therapy has already started in PGIMS Rohtak, we would be able to help Gurugram health team in setting up the plasma bank,” he said, adding that the plasma treatment costs ₹9,000 in their government set up.
Currently, Dr Chaudhary and his team has initiated the ICMR’s clinical trial ‘A Phase II, Open Label, Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess the Safety and Efficacy of Convalescent Plasma to limit Covid-19 Associated Complications in Moderate Disease” called as the PLACID trial, in PGIMS Rohtak. Besides Rohtak, a private hospital in Gurugram is also conducting plasma therapy.
Explaining the necessity of having apt facility for antibody testing to start a blood bank, Dr Chaudhary said, “The concentration of antibody in the blood plasma has to be checked before it is transfused in a patient. In this process, the blood taken from the recovered patients is diluted repeatedly. The concentration of the plasma is diluted in ratio like 1:60, 1:80 and 1:320 just to check till what level of dilution the sample will come out as positive. The highly diluted samples which turns to be positive, are the ones with high antibody levels.”
“To check its effect, neutralizing antibody test is being done. It is only after the technical process, the plasma is transfused in the Covid-19 patient for recovery,” he added.