SILCHAR: Deputy Commissioner, Cachar, Keerthi Jalli on Thursday inaugurated the town's convalescent plasma bank at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMC&H) for patients with novel coronavirus disease COVID-19.
"Today, SMC&H started plasma bank. Till the time a vaccine is developed, plasma will help save lives. And, it has a role in reducing death rate as well. One of the benefits of having the bank in SMC&H is that it will be easier for people to come here and donate," Jalli said while inaugurating the plasma bank.
Convalescent plasma therapy is emerging as one of the most important methods in the treatment of severe COVID-19 patients, in the absence of definite treatment or drugs.
All critical patients will receive two doses of 200 ml of convalescent plasma. The plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients contains antibodies thereby fighting infection and helping critically ill patients recover.
"The entire plasma therapy treatment will be free of cost to all the patients admitted to the hospital. The donors will have no weakness whatsoever after plasma donation as red blood cell count returns to the patients," said Principal of SMC&H, Dr. Babul Kumar Bezbaruah.
Convalescent plasma therapy uses the blood component plasma — rich in virus-fighting antibodies from patients who have recovered from the infection — to aid the immune system of COVID-19 patients. "It is still an experimental therapy that has been approved by the health ministry for use in patients whose need for oxygen increases despite providing oxygen support and steroids," said a doctor of SMC&H.
SMC&H authorities said the plasma received will be used for patients coming from the three districts of Barak Valley and also adjoining areas.
"The plasma will be used for treating patients at the hospital. Now, with the apheresis machine and bank in place, we will be able to provide the therapy to more patients. We can now administer it to patients as and when needed," said Dr. Bezbaruah.
The hospital has so far provided the plasma therapy to only one patient, Deputy Speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly, Aminul Haque Laskar, who incidentally happens to be Assam's first COVID-19 patient to be administered the plasma therapy. Laskar after being cured was discharged on Thursday. The health authorities here have been trying to create awareness about plasma therapy being an effective way to cure patients affected with COVID-19 and has been appealing to the recovered patients to donate their plasma for the treatment of others. Two doctors of SMC&H who were cured from the disease, donated plasma on Thursday, a press release said.