As Delhi’s coronavirus cases climbed to over 1,500, the state government on Wednesday announced that plasma enrichment technique would now be used to treat severely-ill COVID-19 patients on trial basis at a government hospital. Last week, Kerala became the first state to receive ICMR approval for exploring the feasibility of convalescent plasma transfusion.
Lt Governor Anil Baijal advised healthcare workers to strictly adhere to the guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare while dealing with COVID-19 patients. “Delhi will use plasma technique for treatment on a trial basis to save lives of critical COVID-19 patients,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
Quoting an official, PTI stated that clinical trial of the plasma enrichment technique would be conducted at Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS).
The technique, also known as the convalescent plasma therapy, seeks to make use of the antibodies developed in the recovered patient against the coronavirus. The whole blood or plasma from such people is taken and then injected in critically ill patients so that the antibodies are transferred and boost their fight against the virus.
While the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is framing a protocol for the therapy, Kerala has received approval to go ahead with the trials.
“We are in the final stages of making a protocol for convalescent plasma therapy and after that we will need approval from the Drug Controller General of India… It will be done on a trial basis. Abroad, it has been found successful in limited trials. Here we will do it only on patients on ventilator or severe patients,” Dr Manoj Murhekar, Director, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology had said.
Convalescent plasma therapy banks on the age-old concept of passive immunity when antibodies for some diseases, such as diphtheria, were developed in horses and injected into humans. Active immunity is what is achieved by introducing an attenuated pathogen (such as the BCG vaccine) into the body to generate an immune response. The other kind of immunity is passive immunity.
On Wednesday, India crossed the 11,000-threshold of confirmed cases. The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 392, while the number of cases saw a jump of 1,118 to go up to 11,933 cases, according to the Union Health Ministry.
(With inputs from agencies)
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