500 re­cov­er­ies, but no plasma donor in Amritsar

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTPUNJAB - Man­deep Kaur Narula let­ter­schd@hin­dus­tan­times.com

AMRITSAR : Even though over 500 per­sons, in­clud­ing young­sters, have suc­cess­fully re­cov­ered from covid-19 in Amritsar, au­thor­i­ties at Gov­ern­ment Med­i­cal Col­lege and Hos­pi­tal (GMCH), Amritsar are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to find plasma donors for treat­ment of crit­i­cal coro­n­avirus pa­tients. Of­fi­cials say that those who have re­cov­ered are re­luc­tant to come back to hos­pi­tal, also fear­ing that the do­na­tion of plasma might make them weak. The district has 224 ac­tive cases.

Un­der this promis­ing, but yet un­proven treat­ment called con­va­les­cent plasma ther­apy, the an­ti­body-rich blood plasma of pa­tients who have re­cov­ered from covid-19 is pre­served for trans­fu­sion into crit­i­cal pa­tients.

On June 19, the In­dian Coun­cil of Med­i­cal Re­search (ICMR) al­lowed the GMCH to treat covid-19 pa­tients with plasma ther­apy, but the hos­pi­tal had started a hunt for donors around 15 days ago. ICMR stip­u­lates that plasma of only those who were crit­i­cal­ly­ill be­fore re­cov­er­ing can be used.

Blood bank in-charge at GMCH Dr Neeraj said, “For the past 15 days, spe­cial­ist doc­tors and I have been reg­u­larly con­tact­ing re­cov­ered pa­tients, but no one is ready to be a donor. We have a list of around 20 el­i­gi­ble re­cov­ered per­sons, who can do­nate plasma. Just three have shown some in­ter­est, but have also sought 10-15 days to think.”

He added, “There are mis­con­cep­tions about the process. We have also roped in hos­pi­tal coun­sel­lors to per­suade re­cov­ered pa­tients. Hope­fully, we will find donors soon to start treat­ment.”

“It is not pos­si­ble to har­vest plasma from pa­tients, while they are un­der­go­ing treat­ment. It has to be done about two weeks af­ter re­cov­ery, at which stage peo­ple are re­luc­tant to come back to hos­pi­tals,” he added.

There are some mis­con­cep­tions about the process. We have also roped in hos­pi­tal coun­sel­lors to per­suade re­cov­ered pa­tients.

DR NEERAJ, blood bank in-charge, Govt Med­i­cal Col­lege and Hos­pi­tal

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