Delhi is setting up plasma bank for treating COVID-19 patients
In light of a surge in the number of COVID-19 infections, Delhi is moving to set up a plasma bank. The establishment will allow recovered coronavirus patients to donate their blood plasma, which would then be used for the treatment of moderately and severely sick patients across the capital. Here's all you need to know about it.
Speaking at a media briefing, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced the plan to set up the plasma bank. He said that the bank will be operational in 2 working days, following which any recovered COVID-19 patient can visit there and donate blood plasma to help save lives. Kejriwal noted that the government will provide conveyance to the bank for all those willing to donate.
"I request all those (who have recovered from coronavirus) that it is rare that you get to save lives. I request you to please come forward and donate. This is the true service of God."
Kejriwal said that the bank will be established at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in South Delhi's Vasant Kunj and that there is no risk in donating. He also claimed that the government will set up a helpline for potential donors so that all their doubts, questions regarding donating plasma for other COVID-19 patients could be answered easily.
Plasma therapy has emerged as a potential treatment for COVID-19 after several encouraging studies in the US and China. The method involves siphoning blood plasma from those who have recovered from the disease and re-infusing it into sick patients so that their body could use the antibodies produced by the recovered patients and generate an immune response to fight the deadly coronavirus.
Since April, several ICMR-guided hospitals, including AIIMS, have been carrying out plasma therapy trials to determine how effective and safe it is. The Health Ministry had previously said that it is an experimental treatment with no concrete evidence to support it as a treatment, but reports of results have suggested it has proven successful in many cases.
Kejriwal says plasma therapy has been tested on 29 COVID-19 patients in Delhi and the results have been encouraging so far. The first plasma therapy success from the capital was reported in April when a critically sick 49-year-old man was taken off ventilator support.
That said, it must be noted that collecting plasma is just one aspect of the treatment. In order to use it, the doctors will have to test the blood samples and determine the degree of antibodies in the plasma. This is because every individual who recovers generates a mix of antibodies that is slightly different from that of other survivors.
The plasma bank effort from the Delhi government comes in a bid to fight the pandemic, which has infected over 83,000 people in the capital and killed over 2,600.