500 recoveries, but no plasma donor in Amritsar
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