Plasma therapy works if done at initial stage: Study

Plasma therapy works if done on right candidate at initial stage of Covid-19: KIMS study

KIMS performed the highest number of plasma therapy in Karnataka and the success rate of the treatment was also high

A total of 135 patients received 169 units of plasma during the two waves of Covid-19, and 113 of them recovered. Credit: AFP Photo

Contradictory to the suggestions made by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Union Health Ministry related to the use of plasma therapy for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, a study at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Hubballi, has ‘proved’ that plasma therapy can be beneficial if it is administered in the initial stage on right candidate and if not considered as last resort of reviving the patients.

KIMS performed the highest number of plasma therapy in Karnataka and the success rate of the treatment was also high. A total of 135 patients received 169 units of plasma during the two waves of Covid-19, and 113 of them recovered. Of the 22 patients, who died even after receiving plasma therapy, seven were treated outside the KIMS. Sources said a majority of these cases were not fit for plasma therapy but were performed under peer pressure.

Speaking to DH, Dr Ram S Kaulgud, In-charge of Plasma Therapy at KIMS said the success rate of plasma therapy increase if administered to patients in the age group of 18 to 65 within the first week after onset of symptoms. “The therapy provides better results when the patient's oxygen requirement is below five litres and their PaO2/FIO2 ratio is within 200 and 300 levels (normal human oxygenation levels vary between 170 to 400),” he said and added that plasma therapy acts as an anti-viral agent.

Also read — Plasma therapy dropped as treatment for Covid-19

Dr Ram also said that the recovery of patients who received plasma therapy was much faster. “We noticed that within 24 hours of receiving plasma therapy, dependency on oxygen was reducing in many patients and they were out of artificial oxygen supply,” he said. The other conventional treatment would not have given the desired result and the patient's condition could have deteriorated further had the plasma therapy was not conducted. He said the institute provided the therapy to seven in-house doctors and all of them recovered.

Dr Ram said the highest recovery rate was witnessed in the age group of 50 to 60. Nearly 45 such patients were administered plasma therapy and a majority of them recovered.

“ICMR was right in removing plasma therapy as one of the Covid-19 management protocols as it was not being administered according to ICMR guidelines across all the centres leading to suboptimal results. This line of treatment would not help patients in the last stage of Covid-19, but those in initial stages,” he said.

Dr Ram said they conducted 108 plasma therapy treatments during the first wave and 27 in the second wave. “While we are conducting the therapy even now under the guidance of expert committee, the institute has stopped collecting plasma from Covid-recovered patients for now.”

He also said a male Covid-19-recovered person could donate plasma any time while a female patient can be a donor only if she has not delivered a child.

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