The 52-year-old, who was the first COVID-19 patient in Maharashtra to undergo plasma therapy, passed away late Wednesday at Lilavati hospital, four days after he received the transfusion. He suffered from septicaemia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Doctors said the plasma therapy did little to improve his condition.
On Tuesday, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, had said that convalescent plasma therapy is not an approved therapy to treat COVID-19 patients and remains in trials.
Explained: How plasma therapy works, what India plans
He warned that if not undertaken correctly, it may have have an adverse impact.
In Mumbai, the BMC is conducting a study on plasma therapy under infectious disease expert Dr Om Srivastava and Kasturba laboratory. Doctors in Mumbai said a decision to give the 52-year-old plasma therapy was taken on “compassionate grounds” after he developed a cytokine storm, a condition in which the patient’s organs come under attack from his own immunity system.
A total of 200 ml of plasma was transfused into the patient on April 25. Apart from plasma, he also underwent other interventions, from trying the “prone method” in which a person is made to lie face down to improve his breathing, to anti-viral drugs. “But his body responded to nothing,” said Lilavati hospital’s chief executive officer Dr V Ravishankar.
Doctors also tried a three-day dose of Tocilizumab drug, an immunosuppressant. The drug is commonly used for arthritis and is now one of the newer drugs being tried to treat critical COVID-19 patients.Dr Jalil Parkar said the patient was admitted on April 20, by when his condition was critical and he required ventilator support. He suffered from fever, throat pain and cough for 10 days before he finally got tested. When his result came positive on the 11th day, he was admitted to Lilavati hospital. An X-ray showed his lungs had developed white patches, his oxygen levels had dropped. Doctors tried anti- viral drugs ritonavir and lopinavir along with Tocilizumab to reduce the viral load in his body.
“He developed septicaemia early on. Usually, we observe a patient for 48 hours for plasma effects, but there was little improvement in his case due to plasma therapy. That is why a decision to not give further dose was taken,” Parkar added.
The 52-year-old also developed pneumonia in lungs. Late Wednesday, he passed away due to complications of COVID-19 and septecemia.
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