Lucknow’s KGMU pins hopes on asymptomatic donors for Covid-19 plasma therapy | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Lucknow’s KGMU pins hopes on asymptomatic donors for Covid-19 plasma therapy

Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByGaurav Saigal| Edited by Sabir Hussain
Aug 25, 2020 10:06 AM IST

Although these donors have developed antibodies for the Sars-Cov-2 virus, they have never tested positive for the Covid-19 infection earlier nor were they hospitalised.

King George’s Medical University (KGMU) has started obtaining plasma from asymptomatic people for transfusion to Covid-19 patients in different hospital.

King George’s Medical University is understood to be the first institute in Uttar Pradesh to use plasma from asymptomatic people to treat active Covid-19 patients.(HT PHOTO)
King George’s Medical University is understood to be the first institute in Uttar Pradesh to use plasma from asymptomatic people to treat active Covid-19 patients.(HT PHOTO)

Although these donors have developed antibodies for the Sars-Cov-2 virus, they have never tested positive for the Covid-19 infection earlier nor were they hospitalised.

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The medical university is understood to be the first institute in Uttar Pradesh to resort to this method. It had earlier given the plasma of cured Covid-19 patients to those under treatment for the disease.

“We took plasma from five people after antibodies (for the virus) were found. Their antibody levels were good enough. Their plasma can be transfused to Covid-19 patients in the hospital. They never tested positive (for the coronavirus infection earlier), neither were they admitted for Covid-19 treatment,” Prof Tulika Chandra, head of the department of transfusion medicine at KGMU, said on Tuesday,

Also read: More than 700 have been administered plasma therapy for Covid-19 in Delhi

Plasma therapy involves taking antibodies from the blood of a person who has recovered from Covid-19 and transfusing those antibodies into an active coronavirus patient to boost the immune system to fight the disease.

Out of the five asymptomatic plasma donors, the antibody level in three was higher than the normal range. For the two others, the level was within the range.

Antibody test was conducted to check if the person ever had Covid-19 infection and whether she or he recovered as an asymptomatic patient.

Till now, 59 people have donated plasma. Five of the donors were asymptomatic people and the remaining by cured Covid-19 patients, who were admitted in hospital and then discharged.

“Hopefully, as the second option of getting plasma from asymptomatic people is open now, donations will go up manifold in a few days and we shall be able to help more patients in the state,” said Prof Chandra.

She said efforts will be made to get plasma donation from regular voluntary blood donors if they have antibodies for coronavirus.

For this, blood donors will be tested for antibodies. If antibodies are found, they will be motivated to go for plasma donation.

“They are coming for donation themselves. Hopefully, they will agree to donate plasma instead of whole blood. This will be done at the same blood bank. So, it will hardly make a difference to the donors,” said Prof Chandra.

“But certainly this will increase the stock of plasma with antibodies manifold,” she said.

Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, who test positive for antibodies, can volunteer for plasma donation. Besides, other voluntary blood donors will be tested for antibodies. If antibodies for the virus are found, these people will be asked to donate plasma, instead of whole blood.

Every day between 50 and 100 blood donors go to the KGMU blood bank to obtain blood for a patient and donate a unit in exchange. The number includes voluntary blood donors. All of them will be tested for antibodies.

“Even if we get four blood donors a day, who test positive for antibodies, we hope it will be a good number for plasma donation. This will be apart from those who got treated for Covid-19 and came for plasma donation,” said Prof Chandra.

She said a shift from whole blood donation to plasma in some cases will make ‘no or very little’ impact on the stock of blood units at the blood bank.

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