Corona update: Plasma therapy shows positive result on critical Corona-patient; know more about plasma therapy

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  • India has surpassed 23000 mark of coronavirus cases including death toll 723
  • Delhi has registered 2376 infected patients till date which includes 50 deaths and 808 cured cases

DELHI: The Max Hospital in Saket has administered plasma therapy on a critical coronavirus patient and it’s showing positive results with the patient being taken off ventilator support. The 49-year-old man became the first patient to be administered plasma therapy at the Max Hospital.


In convalescent plasma therapy, the antibodies of a person who has recovered from the virus are taken and transfused into a sick person (having the virus) to help boost the person’s immune system.


The patient from Delhi had tested positive for Covid-19 on April 4 and was admitted on the same day to the coronavirus facility at the Max Hospital with moderate symptoms and a history of fever and respiratory issues.
“His condition deteriorated during the next few days and he soon required external oxygen to maintain saturation. He also developed pneumonia with Type I respiratory failure and had to be put on ventilator support on April 8,” the hospital said.


When the patient showed no improvement, his family members requested the hospital to administer plasma therapy on compassionate grounds, a first of its kind treatment modality that is being used for the disease in India.


“The family came forward to arrange a donor for extracting plasma. The donor had recovered from the infection (confirmed by two consecutive negative reports) three weeks ago and again tested Covid-19 negative at the time of donation along with other standard tests to rule out infections like Hep B, Hep C and HIV,” the hospital said.


The critically ill patient was administered fresh plasma as a treatment modality as a side-line to the standard treatment protocols on the night of April 14, it said.


“After receiving the treatment, the patient showed progressive improvement and by the fourth day, he was weaned off ventilator support on the morning of April 18 and continued on supplementary oxygen thereafter,” it added.


WHAT IS CONVALESCENT PLASMA THERAPY?

The convalescent plasma therapy aims at using antibodies from the blood of a recovered Covid-19 patient to treat those critically affected by the virus. The therapy can also used to immunise those at a high risk of contracting the virus — such as health workers, families of patients and other high-risk contacts.

This therapy’s concept is simple and is based on the premise that the blood of a patient who has recovered from Covid-19 contains antibodies with the specific ability of fighting novel coronavirus. The theory is that the recovered patient’s antibodies, once ingested into somebody under treatment, will begin targetting and fighting the novel coronavirus in the second patient.

The convalescent plasma therapy is akin to passive immunization as, according to researchers, it is a preventive measure and not a treatment for the Covid-19 disease.


This is not the first time convalescent plasma therapy is being considered as a treatment for viral infections.

1. In 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recommended the use of convalescent plasma therapy to treat patients with the antibody-rich plasma of those who had recovered from the Ebola virus disease.

2. For the treatment of people infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which is also caused by a coronavirus, a protocol for use of convalescent plasma was established in 2015.

3. During the 1918 H1N1 influenza virus (Spanish flu) pandemic, the therapy was used experimentally.

4. The plasma therapy was used as a treatment during the H1N1 infection of 2009.

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