Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday launched ‘PLATINA’, the world’s largest convalescent plasma therapy trial-cum project, for the treatment of severe Covid-19 patients. The project intends to save around 500 lives of critically ill patients in the state.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, the trial will be carried out in 21 centres associated with 17 government and four BMC-run medical colleges. The treatment will be provided free of cost to all patients admitted in these 21 centres.
Convalescent plasma therapy involves extracting plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients. This plasma contains antibodies developed against the virus, it is injected into critically ill patients to boost their fight against coronavirus.
“Convalscent plasma therapy is now coming up as one of the most important methods in the treatment of severe Covid-19 patients in the absence of definite treatment drugs for the same,” said Uddhav urging Covid-19 patients, who have been cured, to come forward to donate blood plasma to treat others.
Uddhav further said that plasma therapy was first used on a Covid-19 patient in the state in April and then the government had followed up with the Centre to get permissions to undertake trials. A 52 year old patient admitted to Lilavati hospital in Mumbai was offered plasma therapy on compassionate grounds. He, however, succumbed despite the dose.
“We intend to save around 500 lives of critically ill patients in the state. All critical patients will receive two doses of 200 ml of convalescent plasma,” he said.
The entire process of planning, getting clearances and completing dedicated Covid-19 plasma banks has been completed in 21 days. The CM has provided Rs 16.85 crore from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the project, the release said.
Uddhav on Monday inaugurated commencement of clinical trials, setting up Covid-19 plasma banks in 13 centres as well as commencement of plasma collection from eligible donors and permitting emergency authorisation of convalescent plasma in mild and moderate cases in dedicated Covid-19 hospitals and in government, private and charitable hospitals. Also, a separate online portal has been set up where the donors can register themselves to donate plasma.
Uddhav said that the PLATINA trial will be the world’s largest trial and give robust data regarding the role of convalescent plasma in treatment of Covid-19 patients. “We also intend to take this study further and isolate Monoclonal antibodies against Covid-19 from this plasma and study its structure and possibly produce it in an artificial form. As a collateral benefit, this will create an infrastructure of plasmapheresis in all medical colleges of Maharashtra,” he added.
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