Lucknow hospital begins plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 positive patients


King George Medical University Doctors team. (Twitter Photo)

King George Medical University Doctors team. (Twitter Photo)

A 58-year-old doctor became the first coronavirus patient at the King George Medical University (KGMU) to receive plasma therapy as an experimental treatment for the disease, a hospital official said on Monday.

The doctor from Orai in Uttar Pradesh was administered the plasma donated by a woman doctor from Canada who was the first COVID-19 patient admitted to the KGMU and later recovered, Dr Tulika Chandra of the hospital’s blood transfusion medicine department said.

The patient has been kept under round the clock observation and if required a second dose of the plasma would be given to him later in the day or on Tuesday, the doctor said.

Three coronavirus patients who have now recovered have so far donated their plasma for the treatment of others suffering from the disease. They include a resident doctor of the KGMU, Tauseef Khan, she said.

Convalescent Plasma Therapy is an experimental procedure for COVID-19 patients.

In this treatment plasma, a blood component, from a cured COVID-19 patient is transfused to a critically ill coronavirus patient.

The blood of a person who has recovered from COVID-19 develops antibodies to battle against the virus. This therapy uses antibodies from the blood of a cured coronavirus patient to treat another critical patient.

The idea behind this therapy is that immunity can be transferred from a healthy person to a sick patient using convalescent plasma. Once the blood plasma of the recovered patient is infused with that of the second patient, the antibodies start fighting against coronavirus in the second person’s body.

The process of donating plasma is similar to that of donating blood and takes about an hour.

On April 21, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had asked the state’s medical authorities to promote plasma therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 patients after examining its efficacy.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recently allowed states to start clinical trials of plasma therapy. Many states like Kerala, Gujarat and Punjab have already started using it for treatment of coronavirus patients.

Several other countries including the United Kingdom and the United States have also started plasma therapy trials.