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First in Kashmir: SKIMS installs high-end plasma therapy machine for COVID patients

Srinagar: With plasma therapy being dubbed as a provisional treatment for COVID-19, the SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura Wednesday installed a sophisticated machine for conducting plasmapheresis for such patients.

“This is an outstanding development. With these sophisticated machines, we would be now able to conduct plasmapheresis for COVID-19 patients with some precision,” Director, SKIMS and Ex-Officio Secretary to Government, Dr A.G Ahangar said.


He said that SKIMS has started plasmapheresis using Spectra Optia Cell Separator apheresis machine which is the state-of-art machine used for plasmapheresis in COVID patients.

“The machine was procured on a war front basis to combat the COVID-19 crisis and the machine is fitted with a highly sophisticated connector device,” he said.

Plasmapheresis has been used on a trial basis for COVID- 19 patients and has shown promising results. Plasmapheresis is a process in which the liquid part of the blood, or plasma, is separated from the blood cells. Typically, the plasma is replaced with another solution such as saline or albumin, or the plasma is treated and then returned to your body.

It may be recalled here that Plasma Therapy was started for COVID patients about a month back at SKIMS. The Director said that the use of this machine is ideal for the extraction of plasma in donors who have recovered from this disease. He said that Plasmapheresis helps to extract more plasma per operation and returns the blood cells of the donor to him.

“This way more plasma can be extracted and at one time a donor can donate for two patients. Since only plasma is used, a donor can donate plasma more frequently,” Dr Ahangar said.

To begin with, the procedure of plasmapheresis was done on a doctor on Wednesday who had come to SKIMS Blood Bank as a volunteer plasma donor.

Ahangar, Medical Superintendent, Prof Faruq Jan, and Head, Blood Transfusion Medicine, Prof Rumana Makhdoomi personally supervised the procedure—which was carried out without any complications.

“Installation of this machine has brought SKIMS at par with leading institutions of the country which are leading from the front on plasma therapy for COVID. It is the first step towards the establishment of a plasma bank in Kashmir,” said, Head, Blood Transfusion Medicine, Prof Rumana Makhdoomi.