As many as 147 recovered COVID-19 patients have enrolled with the State’s plasma bank to donate plasma for the treatment of patients who are critical. The bank was launched recently by COVID India Campaign, under the aegis of ICATT Foundation in association with HCG Hospitals and the State government. The plasma bank has been set up under Mission COPE (COVID Plasma Endeavour) to promote plasma donation from recovered COVID-19 patients.
U.S. Vishal Rao, associate dean at HCG Hospitals and programme director of Mission COPE, said that although the response was not good initially, the number of donors had increased in the past few days. “As many as 147 recovered patients have enrolled as donors and are undergoing tests for donation,” he said.
Convalescent plasma therapy has been used on 17 patients so far in the State. While seven were from the COVID-19 ward at Victoria Hospital, where trials on the therapy are on, 10 were outside the trials, the doctor said.
“The therapy failed on three patients at Victoria Hospital as it was administered when their condition had worsened. Moreover, all three had multiple co-morbidities. However, we are seeing encouraging results in the remaining patients,” said Dr. Rao.
Pointing out that trials from Mayo Clinic and another multi-centric study had shown a significant reduction in ventilator requirement in patients receiving CP, Dr. Rao said this finding itself could offset the burden on healthcare systems and ICUs. “In addition, meta analysis in at least 12 published papers has shown CP therapy has helped in reducing the number of days a patient is put on ventilator. It has also helped in reducing the number of days in the ward and the number of patients requiring ventilation, thereby reducing mortality,” he explained.
“In our country, plasma therapy will also help decrease the burden on hospitals. Faster recovery is expected to result in an earlier return to work, and thus a lower socio-economic impact on families,” Dr. Rao said. “However, the biggest setback with plasma therapy is that it has no pharma promotion and backing. If it were packaged and sold like Remdesivir, it might have the necessary attention.”