India’s first plasma bank to come up in Delhi
New Delhi, Jun 29: Delhi is all set to set up India's first plasma bank to fight the novel coronavirus. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced setting up of a 'plasma bank' for treatment of COVID-19 patients in the national capital, and said it will start operating in the next two days.
Addressing an online media briefing, he said the bank will be set up at the Delhi government-run Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences and doctors or hospitals will have to approach it for plasma if a COVID-19 patient needs the same.
The chief minister said that the AAP government will encourage those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma. A helpline will also be set up by for queries related to donation of plasma. He said that his government will make transportation arrangements for those willing to donate their plasma.
"The plasma bank will be first of its kind for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Perhaps, it will be the first plasma bank in the country," he said. The need of setting up such bank was felt when people were running from pillar to post to get plasma, he said, adding that both government and private hospitals will be able to get plasma from the facility.
Kejriwal, however, said that plasma therapy is not a "sanjeevani booti" (divine herb).
"Usually, it is difficult to save lives of those patients who are in the last stage or with co-morbidities and on ventilator support. Those patients who are in moderate stage...this therapy is very helpful for them," he said. In the plasma therapy, antibodies from blood of patients, who have recovered from coronavirus, are used to treat infected patients. It is aimed at assessing the efficacy of convalescent plasma to limit complications in COVID patients. Kejriwal said that his government has so far conducted clinical trial of plasma therapy on 29 COVID-19 patients and the result was "encouraging".
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who had tested positive for COVID-19, was administrated plasma therapy. He has now recovered. The chief minister said that in the LNJP Hospital, plasma therapy was conducted on 35 COVID-19 patients and of them, 34 lives were saved and one patient died. Similarly, 49 patients were administrated therapy in private hospitals and 46 people recovered from the virus.
Requesting people to come forward and donate their plasma, he said, "In the entire life, there is a very little chance to save someone's life and you (those recovered from COVID-19) have got this chance," he said. Kejriwal said relatives of a COVID-19 person are free to give plasma to the patient and it is not necessary to only donate to the bank. He asserted that there is no shortage of beds in the national capital as several steps have been taken to effectively deal with the COVID-19 situation.
"At present, we have 13,500 beds and of these, only 6,000 beds have been occupied so far," he said. On Sunday, Delhi recorded 2,889 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the city over the 83,000-mark, while the death toll from the disease mounted to 2,623. The number of containment zones in the city also jumped to 421 on Sunday from 280 after the re-mapping of such areas.