The Assam government has decided to go full throttle in pushing blood plasma donation by introducing moves like "state-guest facility" to encourage donors from other states and "letter of recommendation" to encourage donors within the state to battle coronavirus.
Symptomatic COVID patients who have recovered can donate plasma cells - white blood cells originating from bone marrow that generates antibodies - 28 days after recovery until the completion of three months after recovery.
"One person can at a time, donate 400 grams of plasma cells that can be administered at least two persons. Plasma cell treatment is the only mode of COVID treatment that has no side-effects and has over 90 per cent effectiveness. One, who has gone through the fearful experience of being in a COVID hospital and have seen the untiring efforts of the medical workers in battling the COVID should find it in oneself as a humanitarian call to do their bit by donating plasma cells," Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
To encourage the donors, Mr Sarma said, "A Covid plasma donor's certificate and a handwritten letter by me will be issued to those who have donated plasma cells in the state. They will be given preferences over others when they will apply for government jobs or government schemes. For example, if two persons have scored the same for a government job with limited seats, a plasma donor will be given first preferences for the job."
One can apply as a donor by calling in state's medical helpline number 104.
So far, six persons have donated their plasma cells and four more have signed in to donate by tomorrow. Of those, at least six including Assam's first donor Dr Lithikesh from Karnataka, are doctors who have got contaminated while treating COVID patients and then recovered.
Assam had inaugurated its first plasma bank and installed the plasma separator two weeks ago. Appealing to people from outside the state, Mr Sarma said, "Those who have recovered from COVID and hail from states that do not have Plasma banks, can also apply to donate in Assam. We will provide state-guest-facility that includes state-sponsored to and fro flight tickets, good staying facilities and food," Mr Sarma added.
So far, three persons have gone through plasma therapy and they are "recovering expectedly".
Plasma cell transfusion works like a normal blood transfusion. Only, the blood collected will be passed through plasma separator that will collect the cells and circulate back the rest of the blood into the donor's body.