In the absence of vaccine or drug, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose unprecedented challenges to governments, health professionals and the general public at large globally.
While efforts are ongoing to find means to overcome the novel and complex disease which keeps on ravaging the world, claiming thousands of lives globally, the convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) is being tried to cure those in dire need. It involves infusing patients suffering from COVID-19 with plasma from recovered patients. In theory, the antibodies of the recovered person may help that patient’s immune system fight the virus and resultantly save a precious life.
In Jammu and Kashmir, SKIMS Soura, one of the tertiary care hospitals, has started CPT for critically sick patients as one of the modalities of supportive treatment of the deadly infection. The announcement comes after ICMR cleared it last month. The CPT is said to be safe and the patients with moderate COVID-19 illness will be randomly assigned to receive it. It is not for the first time that plasma therapy is used. About a century old, it has shown some benefit in treating measles, chickenpox and rabies.
True there is a need for more research for extensive use of the therapy but the delay could prove detrimental. Its use is in line with the principle in medical ethics: “Do no harm”. The convalescent plasma therapy requires intensive resources, healthy COVID-19 survivors to donate, a blood bank with proper machinery and trained personnel to remove plasma, equipment to store it and testing facilities to make sure it has an adequate amount of antibodies.
While SKIMS has started it, it’s assuring that the premier institute has announced to enhance the mode of treatment. It has said that more and more of the manpower is adjusted for the service, based on the clinical judgment and the status of the patients in need of such treatment.
While technical aspects are expected to be covered by the official machinery, important component—plasma depends on donation.
Any patient whose sampling was done 28 day ago and tested negative may donate his blood at blood bank. One can understand the pain and agony the recovered patients have gone through but having endured what they have gone through, they remain the warriors.
Given the ever-increasing surge covid-91 cases, CPT has tremendous scope in the line of management for saving the precious lives and as such healthy recovered patients should come forward.