The Delhi government will set up a first-of-its-kind 'plasma bank' in the country for treating COVID-19 patients, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday, even as the number of coronavirus cases crossed the 85,000 mark in the national capital.
Addressing an online media briefing, Kejriwal said the plasma bank will be operational in the next two days.
Here are a few things you should know:
1) It will be set up at the Delhi government-run Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences and doctors or hospitals will have to approach it for plasma if a COVID-19 patient needs the same.
2) The chief minister said the AAP government will encourage those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma. A helpline will also be set up for queries related to donation of plasma.
3) Kejriwal said his government will also make transportation arrangements for those willing to donate their plasma.
4) Kejriwal said relatives of a COVID-19 patient are free to give plasma to the patient and it is not necessary to only donate to the bank.
5) "The plasma bank will be the first-of-its-kind for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Perhaps, it will be the first plasma bank in the country," Delhi CM said.
6) The need for setting up such a bank was felt when people were running from pillar to post to get plasma, he said, adding that both government and private hospitals will be able to get plasma from the facility.
7) He, however, said the plasma therapy is not a "sanjeevani booti" (divine herb)." Usually, it is difficult to save lives of those patients who are in the last stage or with comorbidities and are on ventilator support. Those patients who are in a moderate stage... this therapy is very helpful for them," he said.
8) In the plasma therapy, antibodies from blood of patients, who have recovered from coronavirus, are used to treat infected patients. It is aimed at assessing the efficacy of convalescent plasma to limit complications in coronavirus patients.
9) Kejriwal said his government has so far conducted clinical trials of plasma therapy on 29 COVID-19 patients and the result was "encouraging".
10) The chief minister said in the Delhi government-run LNJP Hospital, plasma therapy was conducted on 35 COVID-19 patients, and of them, 34 were saved and one patient died. Similarly 49 patients were administered the therapy in private hospitals and 46 people recovered from the deadly virus.
Urging people to come forward and donate their plasma, he said, "In one’s entire life, there is a very little chance to save someone's life and you (those recovered from COVID-19) have got this chance."
Delhi recorded 2,084 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the infection tally in the city to 85,161, while the death toll mounted to 2,680 with 57 fresh fatalities on Monday, a bulletin issued by the health department said.