DAK seeks setting up of plasma bank for Covid-19 patients in Kashmir

Srinagar: Seeking setting up of a ‘plasma bank’ in Kashmir valley for treatment of Covid-19 patients, Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) on Sunday said convalescent plasma therapy is showing promising results and has become a ray of hope in the fight against the Coronavirus.

“Many people want to donate plasma, but they don’t know how to. Plasma bank will provide a centralized place for donors to come forward and donate their plasma,” DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan said.

He said the bank will ease access to plasma and bridge the gap between the donors and recipients, adding plasma therapy involves transfusing plasma from people who have recovered from Covid infection into people who are very sick with the virus or at high risk of severe disease.

“The therapy is based on the theory that blood of a patient who has recovered from Covid-19 contains antibodies with the specific ability to fight the novel virus and help the other patient to recover,” he said.

Dr Hassan said convalescent plasma therapy is showing promising results and has become a ray of hope in the fight against the novel Coronavirus. “Plasma therapy trials have been conducted on 35 patients at Lok Nayak Hospital, Delhi and 34 of them have survived,” he said.

“Another hospital in Delhi conducted plasma trials on 49 patients and 46 of them survived,” he added.

The DAK president said the process of donating plasma is similar to donating blood and takes about an hour. “The donor is connected to a cell-separating machine, also called apheresis machine that removes plasma, while simultaneously returning the remaining components (red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) to the donor. The plasma can be stored for up to one year in the plasma bank,” he said.

Dr Hassan said plasma can be donated more frequently as compared to blood. It can be donated as often as twice a week. “Plasma from one person can be used in recovering two infected persons. While plasma therapy reduces Covid deaths, hospitals in Kashmir are not offering this life-saving treatment to corona patients, as a result precious lives are being lost,” he added.