- Plasma bank set-up at Chennai's Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital
- The plasma bank in Chennai has been established at a cost of Rs. 2.34 crore
- The infrastructure supports plasma retrieval from 7 people simultaneously
New Delhi: Plasma therapy which involves transfusion of antibodies, that develop in people who have recovered from coronavirus infection, into a critically-ill COVID-19 patient has shown to yield encouraging results in saving lives. After conducting clinical trials of convalescent plasma therapy and witnessing successful results, Tamil Nadu has established the state’s first plasma bank. On Thursday (July 23), Health Minister Dr C Vijayabaskar inaugurated a plasma bank set-up at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai (Madras Medical College). As quoted by a news agency ANI, speaking at the launch of the plasma bank, Dr Vijaybhaskar, said,
We were earlier conducting the plasma method on a trial basis. Four people in Madurai successfully underwent the process in the early stages.
The first #PlasmaBank in TN @gmcrgggh was dedicated for the state today. TN HS, Dean, Directors & officials were present. Plasma retrieval will be done in 30 minutes, stored at 40° & used for Covid patients.Come forward & donate plasma.Together, let’s save lives. #Vijayabaskar pic.twitter.com/gCHSX75XFe
— Dr C Vijayabaskar (@Vijayabaskarofl) July 22, 2020
In an interview with ANI, Principal Health Secretary, J Radhakrishnan informed that in consultation with ICMR, plasma was administered to 26 patients and 24 have recovered. He added,
More than 1.25 lakh people have recovered in the state. People between 18-65 years of age can donate the plasma and based on medical advice we can use the plasma in curing other affected patients.
The plasma bank in Chennai has been set-up at the cost of Rs. 2.34 crore. According to the information shared by Dr Vijaybhaskar on social media, the infrastructure supports plasma retrieval of 500 ml each from seven people simultaneously in 30 minutes.
Dedicating the plasma bank to the state, Dr Vijaybhaskar appealed convalescent patients of COVID-19 to step-up for the noble cause and said, ‘Together, let’s save lives’.
“Patients who recovered from COVID-19 are encouraged to donate plasma after 14 days. Patients with comorbidities should not donate plasma. I request people to come forward without fear/apprehension and donate plasma for saving lives”, tweeted Dr Vijaybhaskar.
Patients who recovered from #Covid19 are encouraged to donate plasma after 14 days. Patients with comorbidities shouldn’t donate plasma. I request people to come forward with out fear/apprehension and donate plasma for saving lives. pic.twitter.com/opPcg8ZQWv
— Dr C Vijayabaskar (@Vijayabaskarofl) July 22, 2020
The Health Minister also noted that the state government is planning to expand the facility to other hospitals including Stanley Medical College, Omandurar Multispeciality Hospital, Government medical colleges at Salem, Trichy and others.
What Is Plasma Therapy And How Does It Work?
Plasma therapy is based on the principle that the blood of a recovered patient is rich in antibodies needed to combat COVID-19. Antibodies are Y shaped proteins produced by a human body and used by the immune system to identify and neutralise foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses. These antibodies are expected to help critical patients recover.
The effectiveness of plasma therapy has also got a stamp of approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of United States.
The procedure of donating plasma and transfusing it into someone’s body is similar to blood transfusion. Plasma from a patient who has recovered from coronavirus infection is taken out and infused Intravenously (IV).
Impact Of Coronavirus In Tamil Nadu
Currently, Tamil Nadu is the second worst-hit state in terms of reported COVID-19 infections. On July 22, the state recorded the highest single-day spike of 5,849 infections taking the total number of COVID-19 cases close to 2 lakh (1,86,492). With the surge in infections, the fatality rate is also increasing. The rise in the fatality rate from 0.7 per cent (May 22) to now 1.7 per cent is creating a worrisome situation for the state government. Amidst this, the improving recovery rate that currently stands at 70.6 per cent gives hope.
While all 37 districts of the state are impacted by the pandemic, the capital district of Chennai is the worst affected with the bulk of the 48 per cent of the total cases in the state.
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