New Delhi: To help fight coronavirus outbreak, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today (July 2) inaugurated country’s first ‘Plasma Bank’, which is set up at Delhi’s ILBS (Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences) Hospital. Addressing an online media briefing, CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “We hope with the Plasma Bank in place in the national capital people will not face challenges in their fight against coronavirus, which they were facing until now. We don’t have any medicine for COVID-19 disease until then Plasma Therapy will be very helpful.”
Plasma Therapy is a process which involves transfusion of antibodies from a convalescent coronavirus patient to a critical patient. The therapy is based on the principle that the blood of a patient who has recovered from the COVID-19 is rich in antibodies – proteins produced by a human body, if the blood from a recovered patient is transferred to the sick patient then the patients’ immunity is rebuilt. Recently, Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain also underwent plasma therapy which saved his life from Covid-19. The minister on getting discharged also pledged to donate his plasma.
Further urging people to come forward and donate plasma and make this initiative a success, Arvind Kejriwal added,
The problem will be solved and this plasma bank will be successful only when people will come forward and donate plasma for this therapy. Plasma therapy is very safe and easy, if you think, you will feel weak after donating the plasma, it is not true.
Highlighting the eligibility criteria for plasma donation, Arvind Kejriwal said,
The eligibility of who can donate plasma in this therapy is very strict, one of the most crucial things here is that people who had coronavirus in past only those can donate plasma, moreover they should have recovered from the disease and it should have been 14-days and more since the person has recovered. Their age should be between 18-60 years, weight should not be less than 50 kilograms, women who have been pregnant even once in their life can’t donate plasma. People with sugar, hypertension problems are not eligible. Cancer survivors, people facing chronic issues like heart, kidney and lung disease are also not eligible.
He further added,
Now if you filter these people out, we are left with very few eligible people who can come forward and donate plasma. Though in Delhi, there have been 18,000 people who have recovered from COVID-19, this figure is of yesterday, now if you put all the above mention checks in place, we actually have very very few people for the therapy. So, whosoever is eligible, I request them to come forward and help make this treatment a success. In life, you get very less chances to save someone’s life, if God is giving you this chance, then you should definitely come forward.
CM Arvind Kejriwal also launched the helpline number and said if you are eligible and you want to come forward and donate plasma, you can call on 1031 helpline number. Explaining the process, he added,
Once you will call us, you will get registered. Then a doctor from Delhi Government will call you to enquire and see if you are eligible for plasma donation and then as per your convenience a time will be set for the donation. Once the time and day are set, either Delhi government will send the car at home to pick you up or if you want to come in your own car or taxi then we will give you the reimbursement. On the day of donation, few basics tests will be done and the entire process of donation takes just 45 minutes to 1 hour. After the donation is successful, the Delhi Government will also give a ‘gaurav patr’ which is our way to thank you for your contribution towards the society.
Mr Kejriwal also spoke about people who want to undergo convalescent plasma therapy and said,
People who are in need of plasma for a plasma therapy they need not call in the helpline numbers or visit the bank on their own. Once the doctor prescribes the patient for the plasma therapy and mentions plasma is needed then it will be the hospital’s duty to arrange it and get in touch with the plasma bank. Whether it is a government hospital, private or the MCD hospital, all will be eligible to get plasma from the plasma bank.
Talking about Delhi’s number and coronavirus, CM Arvind Kejriwal said it is being contained well. He added,
In the month of June there were days when the deaths were rising more than 115 per day, in the last few days, we are getting 60. Every day, we are making sure that this number is further decreased. As of now, we don’t have any vaccine for coronavirus, till then plasma therapy is the solution. I am not saying that plasma therapy is the cure of COVID but definitely it will help further decrease the number of deaths. I have been told that Maharashtra is also setting up a very big project for plasma therapy and I am looking forward to learning from their experiences. At this crucial time, it is necessary to learn from each other, as we all are fighting this battle together.
About Plasma Therapy
Plasma therapy has also got a stamp of approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States in the fight against COVID-19.
States like Delhi and Maharashtra are already trying the convalescent plasma therapy to treat critically ill patients of COVID-19 for some time now and the results are encouraging as patients show signs of recovery. Odisha is one of the states with the highest recovery rate as per the Odisha government and that’s why the government believes recovered patients will come forward to donate their plasma. The state is set to include the therapy in its treatment for coronavirus.