GUWAHATI, July 16 - Set to launch a countrywide campaign seeking plasma donors, the State health department is planning to give incentives to cured COVID-19 patients who come forward and donate their plasma.
�There is no negative impact of the plasma therapy unlike other drugs that are being used on the patients. If cured COVID-19 patients come forward to donate their plasma, our fight against the pandemic will be much easier,� Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
In plasma therapy, antibody-rich blood from recovered patients is used to treat patients. The idea behind the treatment is to extract the blood bearing COVID-19 antibodies from patients who have survived the infection and provide them to patients struggling with it.
There are no definite studies to show the effectiveness of the treatment, but the protocol has shown promising results in COVID-19 patients.
The State government is planning to give preference to such donors in government jobs and schemes. A notification to this effect is likely to be issued soon. �For example, if two candidates get equal marks in an interview, we may prefer the plasma donor for the job. In government schemes as well we may give preference to such donors,� he said.
�One person can donate 400 grams of plasma with which we can treat two patients. We are also installing plasma separation machines in all the medical colleges soon,� Sarma said.
So far, around ten donors have come forward and three patients are on plasma therapy now at GMCH.
Several states have introduced the therapy, treating patients with moderate symptoms whose oxygen requirement goes up despite the use of steroid.
�However, some states are yet to introduce it. We are launching a countrywide campaign seeking donors. The volunteers who come from outside the State will be our state guest. We are hopeful of getting donors from states where the therapy has not started... A patient will have to donate plasma within three months of getting cured. Otherwise, it will go waste,� Sarma added.
Plasma can be donated by a symptomatic patient after 28 days of being symptom free.