- Delhi reported the country's first plasma therapy success story
- The national capital has so far reported over 3,500 COVID-19 cases
- Centre said plasma therapy for coronavirus is still in experimental stage
Delhi will not stop plasma therapy trials in the fight against the highly infectious coronavirus, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said this afternoon, adding that the "initial results have been promising". His remarks came days after the central government sounded a warning on the use of the therapy.
The city had reported the country's first plasma therapy success story last week, the patient was a 49-year-old man who got treatment at a private hospital. "We had got permission from centre to conduct plasma trials in the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital. The first patient to have recovered has been discharged; he was very serious. Initial results are promising," the Delhi Chief Minister said this afternoon during a video conference.
The national capital has so far reported over 3,500 COVID-19 cases, including 59 deaths, the third highest in the country. Clarifying that the trials won't be discontinued in the city, Mr Kejriwal today said: "A few days back, the central government had made some remarks (about the use of the therapy) and people reached out to me with their concerns. The government had just said that those who have the approval, only they can conduct trials. The therapy is in the trial stage and we agree to that. While initial results are positive, we hope this will further help us in the COVID-19 fight."
"Many people asked me if Delhi is discontinuing the trials. No, we are not. All 1,100 who have recovered in the national capital are willing to donate plasma. I am highly grateful to all these patients," he added.
On Tuesday, the central government had said that plasma therapy for coronavirus is still in an experimental stage and can even prove "life threatening" for a patient.
"The therapy is still in an experimental stage and the Indian Council of Medical Research is conducting a national study on it. It can even be life threatening if not carefully done," senior health ministry official Lav Agarwal had said.
Plasma therapy involves the transfusion of plasma from a convalescent coronavirus patient to a critical patient. The blood of a recovering patient is rich in antibodies produced by the body to fight the virus, which are expected to help the critical patient recover.
On Sunday, Mr Kejriwal had tucked in a message of religious amity in his daily briefing and said that plasma knows no religion or creed. "We are requesting those who have recovered to donate their plasma. I am happy that everyone wants to come forward and save other people's lives. Those belonging to different religion, different caste, they have "jazba" (enthusiasm) on how to save other people's lives," the Chief Minister said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research - the nodal body for the fight against coronavirus in the country -- has called for clinical trials across the country to assess plasma treatment, which is just one of the methods being tested to control the virus which is completely new to humans.
Across India, more than 35,000 people have contracted coronavirus so far, over 1,000 have died.