Srinagar: Scores of people including policemen and civilians who have recovered from COVID-19, Wednesday lined up at a screening camp in Srinagar to donate their plasma to save the existing patients.
Plasma therapy involves transfusion of the blood plasma of a recovered patient into another patient. Plasma is the matrix on which the blood cells float. It also houses crucial components of immunity known as antibodies and, as such, plasma of a recovered COVID-19 patient can help an existing one.
Set up at Kashmir Nursing Home in Gupkar Srinagar, the day-long screening camp was organised by J&K Department of Health and J&K police department.
Dr Naveed Nazir, HOD, Government Chest Diseases (CD) Hospital, said they invited all recovered patients to see if the same have developed anti-bodies against COVID-19 and whether they can donate the plasma to treat others.
“We have conducted some tests of these volunteers. Once we get the results, we will set up a plasma bank which will help us in treating other critical COVID-19 patients,” he said.
Asked how many have come forward to donate their plasma, Dr Nazir said that “at least 40 to 50 civilians who have recovered from COVID-19 were tested for anti-bodies on Wednesday”.
“Besides, 25 to 30 policemen too have come forward for screening,” he said, adding that plasma donation would be a continuous process.
“We don’t have any vaccine for COVID-19 yet, so I appeal people who have recovered from COVID-19 to come forward and donate their plasma,” he said.
Javaid Rather, a Srinagar resident who had visited the camp to donate his plasma, said he knows how anxious and concerned a COVID-19 positive patient becomes.
“Though most people recover from it, I know that it can be psychologically taxing. Now that I have recovered from it, I want to help others with whatever way possible. I heard about this plasma donation camp and decided to come here,” said Rather.
Another volunteer from Srinagar appealed people of Kashmir to come forward.
“Being a Muslim and being a Kashmir, I request everyone who has recovered from this illness to donate his or her plasma,” the person said.
On Tuesday, DC Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary had asked people to come forward and support the initiative.
“Plasma Therapy is a hope till we get a vaccine for Corona. More than 8000 persons recovered from COVID19 have a great opportunity to save lives. Pl encourage people around to support this initiative,” he tweeted.
Earlier this month, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) too had appealed people to donate their plasma.
“Plasma therapy can save lives. It is time to motivate people to donate plasma. It isn’t going to affect you and you are going to save two lives. There is no harm to donor,” president DAK, Dr Suhail Naik said.
“Those who have tested positive for COVID should be fully recovered. Plasma therapy contains antibodies and are used in somebody who has an actual infection. It has no side effects except the pain of needle prick,” Naik said.
He said convalescent plasma contains antibodies which specifically act against virus and are used in a patient who has acute infection to directly neutralize the virus.
“Plasma infusion has good outcome and decrease oxygen requirements in moderate to severely sick coronavirus patients significantly. It is a very old treatment. It had been used against diphtheria in 19th century,” he added.
SKIMS, Soura too has asked the recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma to save critical COVID-19 infected Patients.
Who can donate plasma?
- Those who have had Coronavirus and recovered at least 14 days back.
- Age Criteria: Between the age of 18 and 60
- Weight Criteria: Over 50 kgs
Who cannot donate?
- If you have recovered from coronavirus within the last 14 days.
- Women who have been pregnant even once.
- People with diabetes and those who take insulin shots.
- People suffering with hypertension that is uncontrolled.
- Cancer survivors.
- People with chronic kidney, heart, lung, liver diseases or any other immune compromised states.