A portal called Plasma In Need For Transfusion (PINT) has been launched to help connect plasma donors with patients. It works towards building a network of plasma donors across India to aid in the recovery of Covid-19 patients.
People can register on the website, either as a patient or as a donor. The registration process involves filling in ones contact details, blood group and medical history, so that an accurate match can be facilitated.
An algorithm is used to match registered patients and donors in real-time, based on criteria provided by medical experts.
Once two people are matched, the patient is provided with the donor’s details to help them get connected and take the process forward.
However, the website cautions that convalescent plasma therapy is not currently an approved treatment and is under experimental use. It advises patients to consult a doctor before registering.
Convalescent plasma therapy is a process that involves attempting to jump-start the immunity of a patient by infusing blood plasma of a person who has already recovered from the disease. Plasma is the matrix on which the blood cells float. It also houses crucial components of immunity known as antibodies. Antibodies are the immediate warriors which fight an invading pathogen – an antigen – to defeat it. Once that is done, some blood cells function as memory cells so that they can identify and defeat the same enemy if and when it invades again, by quickly producing the same antibodies.
New Delhi was among the first states to get ICMR approval to conduct trials with plasma therapy, which is still at a trial stage. Delhi has two plasma banks, one at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and the other at Lok Nayak Hospital.
Doctors in Delhi hospitals have found so far that the therapy is not as effective on critical patients, but those with moderate symptoms appear to be responding well.
Five Covid-19 patients have been administered plasma therapy in Karnataka, out of whom, three have recovered. The other two patients succumbed to the disease.
The Assam government, meanwhile, in the first week of July, opened a plasma bank at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) for treating coronavirus patients. The first donor was Dr Likhitesh, a post-graduate student of medicine at GMCH, who had tested positive for the disease in May, and was later cured.
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