Even as plasma therapy has saved the lives of several Covid-19 patients at the civic-run YCMH in Pimpri, the hospital has run out of plasma stock. This has forced the PCMC administration to issue an appeal to over 9,000 Covid-19 patients, who have recovered in the last two to three months, to donate plasma.
“Since plasma therapy has succeeded in saving lives of patients, we want to start using it on a large scale. But unfortunately, as of Saturday, we hardly have any stock of plasma in store which can be given to serious patients. There is a desperate need for patients, who have recovered, to step forward and donate their blood,” Dr Rajendra Wable, dean of YCM Hospital and Medical College, told The Indian Express.
Dr Aniket Lathi, who is part of the team of doctors at YCM Hospital which has achieved considerable success with plasma therapy, said at least 35 patients who were given plasma retrieved from recovered patients have benefitted from the therapy. “Our success rate has been 90 per cent or it could be more than that. But one thing is certain, if plasma is given as early as possible to the patient, the chances of her defeating the infection are very high,” he said.
Citing the instance of Dr Laxman Gofane, head of PCMC’s Bhosari Hospital, a doctor at YCM Hospital said,”When Dr Gofane was brought from Bhosari Hospital, he was finding it difficult to even climb the staircase. He was given the plasma in the evening and he recovered almost by 90 per cent. He was shifted to a private hospital in Pune at the insistence of his family members.”
Dr Lathi said patients on oxygen support and those on non-invasive ventilators have also recovered after they were given plasma therapy. “After a Covid-19 patient recovers, she can donate the plasma. This can be done 28 days or after since the day she tested positive. The antibodies remain in the patient three months after she has recovered,” said Dr Lathi.
He said the plasma of those who have had high fever or pneumonia is highly beneficial. “Those from whom we collect plasma need to have a certain level of antibodies. Tests on plasma donated by patients have revealed that those who were severely ill had high level of antibodies. Comparatively, people who were asymptomatic or had mild fever do not have high level of antibodies, but their plasma is equally important,” said Dr Lathi.
Dr Wable said since YCM Hospital has run out of plasma, the administration was trying to get in touch with other medical institutes like Aditya Birla Hospital, which have blood banks. “We are hoping that those who have recovered will come forward and donate blood. The plasma is separated from the blood and stored. About 300 to 400 ML blood is taken from the patient,” he said.
Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar also issued an appeal to young donors who have recovered from Covid-19 to come forward and donate blood. “Nearly 9,000 patients have recovered from Covid-19 in Pimpri-Chinchwad. We are requesting young Covid-free patients to donate blood and save the lives of fellow citizens,” he said.
The PCMC chief said plasma therapy was started after receiving permission from the government last month. “In a short time, it has prdouced very good results. We want to use it extensively as it will help reduce the mortality rate,” he said.
In his appeal, the PCMC chief said,”… Those who want to donate plasma should register their names along with the blood group with YCM Hospital. Even on the PCMC website, we will provide a page so that Covid-free patients can register their names for donation of plasma… on PCMC Sarathi app, they can register their names. If the blood group is mentioned, it will help us call the person with the matching group to donate plasma.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner Santosh Patil said the PCMC will start an awareness campaign and seek the help of voluntary organisations and self-help groups to persuade Covid-free patients to donate their blood. “As many as 9,150 patients have recovered by Saturday. If some of these individuals donate plasma, they would be doing a great service to society, “he said.
Patil said by Saturday, Pimpri-Chinchwad has seen over 15,000 positive cases. “Of these, 4,000 cases have emerged in the last four days because of increased testing,” he said.
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