Talking about the Delhi government’s efforts to not only contain the COVID-19 spread, but to also bring down the number of deaths in Delhi, state chief Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday that initial trials of plasma therapy on COVID-19 patients has given hope and improved their conditions.
Last week, the Delhi government obtained approval from the country’s drug regulator, the Drug Controller General of India, for a “limited trial” of plasma therapy on critically-ill cases of COVID-19 in the state.
The plasma therapy was carried out on four critically ill patients in Delhi, out of whom the two who received plasma on Tuesday had showed improvement and are likely to be shifted from ICU to hospital wards on Friday. Improvements have also been seen in two others.
Patients who recover from the coronavirus develop anti-bodies that protect them from infection. These anti-bodies can be extracted from recovered patients and can be used in critically ill patients, as this helps them to recover.
Also present during the briefing, Dr S.K. Sarin, director of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences said, “We have arrived at conclusion that if we use plasma therapy on the second stage patient who suffers lung infection, we can reduce the impact of the virus and prevent him/her from slipping into the third stage where organs start failing”.
However, the doctor also talked about the limitation of the theory, stating that the plasma has to be extracted from recovered patients who are in quarantine at home.
“We would want more recovered patients to come forward and donate plasma. This is not a blood donation, only the anti-body is extracted”, the doctor said, while dispelling the misunderstanding and urging recovered people to donate.
Reiterating that these are just the initial results of the therapy, Delhi chief Kejriwal stated that the trials will continue for some time and the state government will urge the federal government next week to allow it to use to the therapy on serious patients across the state.
India has 23,077 COVID-19-positive cases and has witnessed 718 deaths so far. The national capital Delhi remains one of the worst-hit states, with 2,376 confirmed cases and 50 deaths.