Delhi got its first plasma bank for patients who will be given the trial therapy for Covid-19. Calling the situation so far “chaotic”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said donating plasma could be a chance to save someone’s life. The bank has been set up at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in Vasant Kunj.
“People were finding it really difficult to get plasma and the situation in Delhi was turning chaotic. To have a systematic approach, the plasma bank has been set up for treatment of corona patients… The bank will only be successful if people come forward. The criteria is very stringent and will leave fewer recovered patients eligible, so I urge everyone who is eligible to donate,” he said.
The therapy uses plasma with antibodies, developed by those previously infected, and transfers it to patients. The therapy is still at a trial stage and only seven hospitals, like Lok Nayak Hospital and Max Super Specialty, Saket, have the permission to administer it.
Among the basic criteria to donate plasma is a time period of two weeks between recovery and donation. Only those aged between 18 and 60 and weighing not less than 50 kg can donate plasma. Women who have given birth or persons with co-morbidities cannot donate.
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On Thursday, Delhi saw 2,373 new cases, taking the total count to 92,175. As many as 61 patients died, taking the toll to 2,864. So far, 63,007 people have recovered.
The pool of recovered patients is small at present as the number of people who had recovered two weeks ago was a little over 21,000. Several of them will be excluded as they will not meet the set donor criteria.
The CM said Thursday that till a vaccine is discovered, the therapy will be helpful “to treat corona patients”. “We are not saying that no casualties will happen because of plasma therapy, but the results have been encouraging and they have shown that it will help reduce the death rate and save lives,” he said.
A doctor at the centre will note down detailed medical history and conduct a physical examination (height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, adequate veins for phlebotomy), and also check for adequate Covid-19 specific IgG antibodies. At the bank, plasma will be extracted and stored. The hospital which needs plasma has to contact ILBS, which will provide plasma based on a doctor’s prescription.
Among those who came to donate Thursday was Amit Chaturvedi (37), a nursing staff who contracted the virus while treating people. “On June 5, I tested negative. Having been through this myself, it feels good to be able to donate and try to save someone else’s life.”
Dr Meenu Bajpai, in-charge of the plasma bank, said: “Families of those who have recovered are often hesitant… In difficult times like this, it is the need of the hour to donate.” Referring to a message she received from a donor who lost his father to the virus, she said, “He is committed to donating even after losing a loved one. It is people like this who give me hope.”
The bank can collect up to 50 units per day. Until 4 pm, around 12 units were collected.
Those who want to donate can call 1031 or send a WhatsApp message to 88-0000-77-22 and register, after which the person will be contacted by a Delhi government doctor. The government will send a vehicle to take donors to the plasma bank, or reimburse them for the travel cost if they wish to come in their private vehicle.
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