COVID-19 patient recovers well post plasma therapy

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Plasma Therapy: The 49-year-old male patient from Delhi, who had tested COVID-19 positive on April 4, was admitted at COVID facility at Max Hospital, with moderate symptoms along with fever and respiratory issues.

His condition deteriorated during the next few days and he soon required external oxygen to maintain saturation. He also developed pneumonia with Type I respiratory failure and had to be put on ventilator support on April 8.

When the patient showed no improvement in his condition, his family requested the hospital for the administration of plasma therapy on compassionate grounds, a first of its kind treatment modality that was used for this disease in India.

The family came forward to arrange a donor for extracting plasma. The donor had recovered from the infection three weeks ago and again tested COVID-19 negative at the time of donation along with other standard tests to rule out other infections.

The 49-year-old critically ill patient was administered fresh plasma as a treatment modality as a side-line to standard treatment protocols on the night of April 14.

After receiving the treatment, the patient showed progressive improvement and by the fourth day, he was weaned off ventilator support on the morning of April 18 and continued on supplementary oxygen thereafter.

He has been shifted to a room with round-the-clock monitoring at present. He has started taking oral feed since Sunday and is faring well.

Speaking about the success of the first case administered under plasma therapy, Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director, Max Healthcare and Senior Director, Institute of Internal Medicine, said: “We are delighted that the therapy worked well in his case, opening a new treatment opportunity during these challenging times.”

“But we also understand that plasma therapy is no magic bullet. During the patient’s treatment at Max Hospital, other standard treatment protocols were followed. We can say that plasma therapy could have worked as a catalyst in speeding up his recovery. We cannot attribute 100 per cent recovery to plasma therapy only,” he said.

He further said: “In a country like India, a therapy of such kind has a good potential to help COVID-19 patients, who have disease severity, which fits into moderate to severe category. The government regulations should work towards making it more accessible for hospitals. One donor can donate 400 ml of plasma which can save two lives, as 200 ml is sufficient to treat one patient.”