The state witnessed its first plasma donation for convalescent plasma therapy on Wednesday when Covid-19 survivor Monami Biswas donated her plasma. The plasma would be used during the clinical trial on the efficacy of the therapy in the treatment of Covid-19 infected patients in the state.
“I had never donated blood. So, at the start of the procedure, I was a bit nervous, but I was excited, too. At the end, I really felt good that my plasma will be used for the crucial study to find a cure for Covid-19,” said the 23-year-old management student.
The Habra resident had tested positive to Covid in the city on her return from Scotland on March 19. She was treated at Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General (IB&BG) Hospital and is among the first to be recovered and discharged from hospital.
Monami underwent the plasma donation procedure at Medical College Hospital’s (MCHK) immunohematology and blood transfusion department.
Doctors said a patient, who has been cured of Covid-19 infection, is known to develop antibodies to the virus. Antibodies can help an infected patient fight the infection. Any healthy person can donate plasma after about three to four weeks of testing negative to the virus.
“The process took about 40 minutes during which 410ml plasma was taken from the donor. She is a steady young woman, so the process was smooth. We are ready to hand over the plasma as and when the clinical trial team needs it,” said immunohematology and blood transfusion head Prasun Bhattacharya. Among the other doctors in his team are, Durba Biswas, Chikam Maity, Soumarupa Majhi, Sayantan Saha, Suman Haldar, Mohammad Azharuddin and Biswajit Haldar.
The procedure is almost identical to blood donation. Here, the blood flows back to the donor after the plasma is separated by a machine.
“We can now start the clinical application as and when we get a Covid patient with respiratory distress syndrome and with matching blood group. The cyclone hit our schedule,” said Diptyaman Ganguly, principal scientist and associate professor at Translational Research Unit of Excellence of Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata.
It’s a collaborative project of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research and Bengal government, where Ganguly is the principal investigator and doctors Yogiraj Ray, Shekhar Ranjan Paul and Biswanath Sharma Biswas are clinical investigators at ID&BG Hospital, where the trial will take place.
Unlike trials in other states, where it happens on mildly affected patients, in Kolkata patients with severe infection will undergo the trial. According to protocol, 200 ml of plasma will be administered to each selected recipient once daily for two consecutive days. Few more potential donors have agreed to undergo screening. “I appeal to those, who have recovered and are healthy, to come forward,” Monami said.
Source: Times of India