MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Monday launched Project Platina, the world’s largest convalescent plasma therapy trial-cum-project for treatment of patients with severe covid-19 infection, as active cases continue to rise in the state.
Convalescent plasma therapy is emerging as one of the most prominent methods in treatment of patients in the absence of definite treatment or drugs for the same.
The trial and treatment of plasma therapy will be free of cost in 17 medical colleges under the state's department of medical education and drugs and four colleges of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) with 21 centres. Funding to support this plasma therapy trial has been done through the CM Relief fund wherein the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has sanctioned ₹16.85 crore for the project.
On Sunday, the state reported a record 5493 new covid-19 cases taking the state's tally of covid-19 positive cases to 1,64,626.
"It will be world's largest trial cum treatment project, where in we intend to benefit and save around 500 lives of critically ill covid 19 patients of Maharashtra. The donors are available in large numbers," the state government said in a press statement.
All critical patients will receive two doses of 200 ml of convalescent plasma. The plasma of recovered covid-19 patients contains antibodies against corona virus thereby fighting infection and helping critically ill patients.
"This trial will help formulate definite treatment guidelines for the entire country in managing serious covid patients and thus be a milestone in turning a page in the covid pandemic," the state government said, adding that the state also intends to take this study further and isolate monoclonal antibodies against covid from this plasma and study its structure and possibly produce it in an artificial form.
As a collateral benefit, this will create an infrastructure of plasmapheresis in all medical colleges in various districts of Maharashtra. This will help in treatment of dengue, snake bites etc.
"This trial is a government sponsored, and no private/ company financial involvement is there," the state government clarified. The whole process of planning, getting clearances and completing dedicated covid-19 plasma banks has been done in 21 days.