2 recovered COVID-19 victims to donate plasma at BMCRI

Bengaluru: Two patients who recovered from coronavirus to donate plasma at BMCRI

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Two patients who recovered from COVID-19 will donate their plasma at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) on Saturday.

The plasma collected will be transfused to patients found suitable. As on Friday, 152 people had recovered from coronavirus in Karnataka, while five are in ICU.

BMCRI dean Dr C R Jayanthi clarified to DH that her institute did not separately apply to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for convalescent plasma therapy, adding that the HCG Cancer Hospital and BMCRI are collaborating as of now.

“BMCRI will be the main institute and HCG will be a collaborator,” she said. “Two donors are ready as of now.”

BMCRI’s Emergency and Trauma Care Centre is currently housing more than 40 Covid-19 patients.

The HCG team is made of its head and neck cancer surgeon and associate dean of the Centre of Academic Research Dr Vishal Rao; director, iCREST, Dr Gururaj Rao; and Dr Jyothsna Rao.

Similar to blood donation 

Dr Gururaj told DH that the process to donate plasma is similar to blood donation. “It takes about an hour,” he said. “Plasma donors are hooked up to a small device that removes plasma, while simultaneously returning red blood cells to their bodies.”

Unlike regular blood donation, where a donor must wait for the red cells to replenish between donations, plasma donation can be done twice a week. The plasma recovered from a donor can help two people.

“The procedure could take one to three hours, depending on the time the machine takes to separate 500 ml of plasma from the blood,” he said.

Once the plasma is given to the Covid patient, the antibodies begin to fight coronavirus. China had used this method to treat Covid-19 patients.

Fifteen patients who were given plasma under two trials had shown improvements. But ICMR does not recommend this method outside of clinical trials.

In 2014, the World Health Organisation recommended plasma therapy to treat Ebola, while doctors also used this method during the 2009 H1N1 infection.

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