'Let Ebola man donate blood to check future cases'

The Indian Medical Association is considering writing to the Central government to collect a unit of blood from the first patient of Ebola in the country. This will help fight any case of Ebola in future, said an IMA member.

The urine and saliva samples of a 26-year-old man, who is currently under observation at the Airport Health Organisation Quarantine Centre, has tested negative.

The samples were tested at the National Centre for Disease Control. 

“We will be writing to the Centre to persuade the man to donate blood or plasma for a future patient. The World Health Organisation had issued interim guidance for the collection and administration of convalescent whole blood or plasma for treatment of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD),” said Dr K K Aggarwal, Honorary General Secretary elect, IMA.

In case any cases are reported in future, the sample collected from the man who has now cured of the infection can effectively save lives, said Dr Aggarwal.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) interim guidelines, patients who have recovered from EVD and been discharged from Ebola treatment centres could be potential donors of blood from 28 days after they have been discharged.

There are certain conditions in place like the patient should have tested negative, the samples being collected within a specific time gap.

“There is no proven treatment available for Ebola Virus Disease. But blood collected from patients in the convalescent phase of infection has been used as an empirical treatment with promising results in a small group of cases with this infection,” said Dr Aggarwal.

“When a person is first infected with Ebola, there are antibodies formed in his blood which can be preserved for future use,” added Dr Aggarwal.

However, once the blood is collected, it has to be stored under specific temperatures, preferably between 2 degree and 6 degree, and should not be frozen.

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