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State to introduce plasma therapy on Covid-19 patients

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, June 28 - Anticipating a spike in COVID-19 infections and more critical cases in days to come, the State�s Health Department is preparing to introduce convalescent plasma therapy for treating the patients.

�We are preparing to introduce plasma therapy at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital in a few days. Necessary installations are being put in place for the purpose,� a senior Health Department official told The Assam Tribune.

A meeting was also held today at the NHM office to discuss the preparations.

�So far, we haven�t received patients who would require plasma therapy. Cases were not that critical, like those in Delhi and Maharashtra. However, we need to prepare for it, because in community transmission stage, cases will shoot up and aged people and those with co-morbities will also be infected,� the official said.

Till yesterday, the State has recorded 6919 cases and 4814 have recovered. Eleven patients have died, but a majority of them were with co-morbidities. At present, ten patients are in ICU at GMCH, and four on ventilators, hospital sources said. The other six required oxygen support.

An overwhelming number of the patients were asymptomatic.

In plasma therapy, antibody rich blood from recovered patients is used to treat patients. For this, the Health Department will have to get recovered patients who are willing to donate plasma.

There are no definite studies to show the effectiveness of the treatment, but the protocol has shown promising results in COVID-19 patients.

ICMR had begun the second phase of plasma therapy trials across country last month.

Several states have introduced the therapy, treating patients with moderate symptoms whose oxygen requirement goes up despite the use of steroid.

The idea behind the treatment is to extract blood bearing Covid-19 antibodies from patients who have survived the infection and provide them to patients struggling against it. Blood plasma from these coronavirus survivors is rich in IgM and IgG antibodies for the Covid-19 virus, which developed in their immune system.

Blood plasma is a yellow viscose fluid and is the sole carrier of essential nutrients, hormones and proteins across the body. It also delivers salt, water and enzymes from one part to another.

The protocol approved by the Drugs Controller General of India allows collection from donors after 28 days of being symptom-free.

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