The process of donating plasma to treat COVID-19 is not very complex and can be done in just two hours, a donor in Delhi has told NDTV. 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.
Plasma therapy trials are going on in the national capital, and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said they are seeing encouraging results.
How long does it take to donate plasma?
"It was very easy. In total, it took two hours in the hospital, which includes blood testing, reports analysis, the process of extracting blood and then removing plasma from it and putting the remaining blood again in the body. The hospital also made all arrangements," Tabrez Khan, 36, who recovered from COVID-19 infection, told NDTV.
Mr Khan was found infected with coronavirus in March after he came in contact with his sister, who returned from Saudi Arabia. He was discharged from hospital on April 5 after full recovery.
"I decided to give plasma because being a responsible citizen, if the medical council wants to do any kind of research by taking any part of my body, then I am ready for that too," said Mr Khan, who donated plasma at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in south Delhi.
Another plasma donor, who asked not to be identified, said it takes only the pain of a needle prick to donate blood that is rich with antibodies. "One can do this much for the country. If we cannot do anything else sitting at home, then by donating plasma we can save those who have become coronavirus positive," said the donor who was found infected with coronavirus in early March, days before the lockdown was announced. He recovered recently.
Some people have, however, a fear in their mind that they may get infected again if they donated their plasma, doctors said.
"ILBS handles all coronavirus cases very seriously. We have a testing lab here. Our blood bank and plasma donation process are fully functioning. Till now no case of coronavirus has been reported here. We have a separate area in the hospital for patients who have recovered from coronavirus so that they can visit the blood bank directly without having to come inside the hospital to donate blood and plasma," ILBS director Dr SK Sarin told NDTV.
Earlier this week, Delhi reported the country's first plasma therapy success when a 49-year-old man who received treatment was taken off ventilator support. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has called for clinical trials across the country to assess plasma treatment. The trials need permission from the drug control authority since it involves relaxation in blood donation rules.