The bank will cater to needs of patients admitted in PGI Chandigarh as well as other government and private hospitals of the city, on a first-come-first-serve basis. As per the recommendations of the committee constituted by PGI Director Dr Jagat Ram, convalescent plasma will be issued exclusively based on ICMR guidelines for its off-label use.
The request form must contain information on the clinical condition of the patient and severity of disease as per ICMR treatment guidelines. Government and private hospitals in UT which are desirous of using convalescent plasma treatment need to register with the department of transfusion medicine at PGIMER Chandigarh through email by registering phone number and email ID of the designated nodal officer of their hospitals.
The nodal officers of the government and private hospitals will send the patient’s clinical information and the PGI plasma bank team will guide them further.
Once approved by the clinical team of PGI, attendants of patients can submit the request form along with the patient’s sample, declaration form and patient’s clinical form at the reception.
After confirmation of the blood group of the patient, one unit (200 ml) of group-specific convalescent plasma will be issued. Convalescent plasma will be issued free of cost to patients admitted in PGIMER and other government hospitals in Chandigarh, but for private hospitals, a minimum processing charge would be levied as per the institute’s policy.
The plasma bank committee, PGI Chandigarh, has recommended that nodal officers of hospitals outside PGI, should share a list of patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and discharged from their hospitals, with the department of transfusion medicine, PGIMER, Chandigarh and motivate them for plasma donation in PGI, Chandigarh.
“We have all the infrastructure in place for the bank and PGI was one of the centres for the ICMR trials of convalescent plasma therapy. We had more than 100 donors, of which only 10-12 were eligible for the trial. The selection of the patient for therapy is based on clinical indications. As far as donors are concerned, the ICMR criteria is that the donor should come forward, we then do antibody testing, and the presence of antibodies is essential. There are many myths regarding plasma donation, as some feel it may cause weakness or some issues, and this mindset needs to be addressed with campaigns and educational programmes,”said Professor (Dr) Rati Ram, head of the transfusion medicine department, PGIMER.
He added, “All those who were discharged from PGI after recovery, were motivated to donate plasma, with some coming forward for the trials. Plasma donation is like blood donation, it causes no deficiency and the donor can go back home after donation, and we take about 400 ml of plasma. For donating, one has to be above 18 years of age, have no co-morbidity and donation is possible after 28 days after recovery, after a standard blood and Covid infectivity test.”
Dr Pankaj Malhotra from the department of internal medicine, PGIMER, who was part of the convalescent plasma therapy trials here says that during the trials in April, 10 people were chosen, five were given plasma and five were given standard treatment, and both recovered. However, he feels that 10 was too small a group to really understand the effectiveness of the therapy.
“In a few days, ICMR will reveal the data analysis of trials conducted across the country. Across the world, it’s a controversial treatment, but till we don’t have an effective new medicine, this is a treatment that is contemplated. If a patient is admitted, we will give the convalescent plasma therapy for both scientific and social reasons, for it has no side effects. If given in the first seven to ten days, it can be effective, for the recovery is faster and post-viral effect is lesser. Of course, the results vary from patient to patient and efficacy has to be still proved. We have to study in which category of patients does the plasma reduce viral replication and I think we can help more people with the therapy. Right now the problem is that people are not coming forward to donate, though we have more than 80 per cent recovery rate. While we have a list of recovered patients and do reach out to them for donations, not many come back. This has to be a voluntary effort and we can move forward only once we have the plasma and the need is to run campaigns for donations, irrespective of the results,” he said.
Those who have recovered from Covid-19 and are willing to donate convalescent plasma can fix an appointment for screening and testing with Dr Suchet Sachdev (7087009487) and Dr Divjot Singh Lamba (7087003371).
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