Over three months after Delhi launched its first plasma bank at the Institute for Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), the institute has so far issued more than 2,000 plasma units to Covid positive patients willing to opt for the convalescent plasma therapy. The concept, which was introduced at a time when the city was struggling with a large number of Covid cases, has gradually settled in among the public.
In July, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the first plasma bank in the city for the treatment of Covid patients. However, the idea hit a wall with not many coming forward to donate, fearing contracting the infection. According to experts, the willingness of patients to get tested and monitoring oxygen levels using oximeters has changed the overall scenario of plasma donations in Delhi.
“The bank is doing very well now. Every day, we are able to manage close to 30-40 patients and at times the number goes up to 50. So far, more than 2,000 plasma units have been issued to patients. Over the last few months, there has been a substantial shift in the mindset of patients. They are now not reluctant to get themselves tested. A lot of discipline has come in. Now, they know the use of oximeters and the relevance of low oxygen saturation, and as their medical condition turns serious, they immediately reach out to the hospitals,” said Dr S K Sarin, chief of ILBS.
Functioning like a blood bank, the plasma bank is a common facility through which a patient can donate and get the plasma required for convalescent plasma therapy. Those aged between 18 and 50 and weighing not less than 50 kg can donate their plasma for Covid-19 patients. The recovered patient should have completed three weeks and should have tested negative for Covid-19 twice.
Expanding the network, two more plasma banks have been set up at Delhi government’s Covid-only facilities at Lok Nayak and Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty hospital. So far, over 480 patients at these hospitals have been administered plasma therapy.
The institute is all set to complete the second study on 400 patients — 200 each from Lok Nayak and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital — to see the effect of plasma therapy on patients. The results are expected to be out in a week.
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