- Arvind Kejriwal said transport to plasma bank will be arranged for donors
- Plasma bank to be at Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in Delhi
- Therapy involves plasma transfusion from convalescent COVID-19 patient
The Delhi government will create a plasma bank to fight coronavirus, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said this afternoon, urging those who have recovered from the infection to donate plasma to help other patients. He also assured that the state government will arrange conveyance to the plasma bank for those willing to donate.
"The Delhi government will set up a plasma bank, I request people to donate plasma to save lives of COVID-19 patients," Mr Kejriwal said during a media briefing, adding that the plasma bank wil srart operating in the capital in the next two working days. He said the state government has, so far, conducted clinical trails of plasma therapy on 29 coronavirus patients and that result was encouraging.
"I request all those (who have recovered from coronavirus) that it's rare that you get to save lives. I request you to please come forward and donate. This is the true service of god," the Chief Minister said.
The plasma bank, which will be at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in south Delhi's Vasant Kunj, will serve the purpose of coordination between plasma donors and recipients, Mr Kejriwal said.
"If you go there (plasma bank) to donate, there is no risk. We will arrange conveyance for you to go there and donate. We will announce numbers in a few days for this system," Arvind Kejriwal said.
He said that a helpline will be set up by the government for queries related to donation of plasma.
Welcoming the initiative, LNJP hospital's medical director Dr Suresh Kumar, said the plasma bank will help connect donors with recipients more easily.
"We at LNJP performed our first phase of plasma therapy trial on over 20 patients and after it worked we have now been given approval to perform it on 200 more patients.Deaths are very less among patients who are given plasma," he said.
He also detailed the protocols on who can receive the plasma therapy.
"There are clear protocols about this therapy. Who should get it and who shouldn't get it. Patients of renal failure, alcoholics, Cancer patients should not get it. But if patient is less than 65 and has only respiratory issues like oxygen level below 90,those people can be given the therapy. If the therapy is given before the muti-organ failure stage then survival rate is even higher," said Mr Kumar.
At present, it is a struggle for people to arrange plasma. It took Shweta Singh three days to finally arrange plasma for her 58-year-old father. She got it this morning through a friend. Ms Singh's father is currently admitted at a private hospital. She told NDTV, "I called up at least 150 people on a daily basis. My friend also used to do the same in order to find a donor for my father. I called up 20 blood banks but to no avail."
One of the most discussed methods of treatment of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus is plasma therapy, which 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.
Delhi - the state with the second highest number of coronavirus cases in India - has witnessed a worrying surge in cases in the last couple of weeks. Delhi recorded 2,889 new infections and 65 deaths on Sunday, taking the state's tally to 83,077 cases.
Delhi had reported India's first plasma therapy success when a 49-year-old man who received treatment for coronavirus was taken off ventilator support. Clinical trials of plasma therapy started in Delhi in April.
The centre had called it an experimental procedure and said there was "no concrete evidence to support plasma therapy as coronavirus treatment." There have been reports, however, of COVID-19 patients getting cured after undergoing the treatment.
During his media briefing, Mr Kejriwal also announced a sum of Rs. 1 crore for the family Dr Asheem Gupta who died of coronavirus on Sunday. Dr Gupta was working at a COVID-19 hospital in Delhi.