Kejriwal govt to set up India’s first plasma bank for covid-19 treatment2 min read . Updated: 30 Jun 2020, 05:42 AM IST
The bank will ease access to blood plasma but it is not a must that patients contact it for plasma therapy, CM says
NEW DELHI : In a first for India, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in Delhi on Monday launched a plasma bank for treating covid-19 patients.
Delhi was one of the first states to give the go-ahead for plasma therapy in April. It has now stated that the proposed plasma bank will be up and running in two days, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
The facility is to be set up at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), and will be made available to government and private hospitals.
Delhi, with 27,847 active patients undergoing treatment, has the second highest number of active coronavirus cases in India. Its total number of cases on Monday was 83,077.
However, the state is also home to over 52,000 people who have recovered, making them prime candidates for blood plasma donations.
Kejriwal said the bank was needed because patients were facing problems accessing blood plasma. It will, however, not be mandatory for patients to contact the bank for plasma therapy.
“Over the past few days I am seeing that there are a lot of problems being faced when it comes to getting plasma. Delhi was the first state in the country to start a trial for plasma therapy. We conducted a trial and the results were very promising. There are two things that happen to a patient during corona—oxygen levels decline and respiration levels increase. If plasma is given, both these levels show improvement. The Centre has given its go-ahead for plasma therapy," he said.
The therapy requires drawing blood from patients who have recovered from covid-19 and using the plasma and antibodies from that blood in active patients. Unlike blood donation, only the plasma is drawn from the blood. Doctors involved in the trial said they use the therapy on patients who have gone to the second stage of the disease, in which the lungs are affected.
“If a patient wants to get plasma on their own, they can continue doing that. If someone needs plasma, they will need a doctor’s recommendation. The hospital or doctor will approach ILBS," he said.
“We need people who have recovered to come forward and donate plasma. Use this opportunity to help save other people’s lives," he added.
On Monday, the Maharashtra government, too, kicked off a trial for plasma therapy with the launch of ‘Project Platina’, which will be conducted in 17 medical colleges in the state. Earlier this month, Kerala had announced plans to set up a plasma bank, but it is till in the works.
Several states, including Punjab, are running trials to see the efficacy of plasma therapy in the recovery of coronavirus-positive patients.