Kerala: Covid-19 patient recovers after he was administered plasma therapy

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Thiruvananthapuram: Convalescent plasma therapy, an experimental medical procedure, where critical coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients are treated using plasma collected from those who have recovered from the viral infection, have come to the rescue of a critical patient (51), who is undergoing treatment at Thrissur Medical College Hospital in Kerala, the state health department authorities said.

The patient, who had returned from Delhi recently, amid the easing of nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were enforced from March to contain the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, had tested positive and was on a ventilator support for six days, as his condition had worsened.

However, he was taken out of the ventilator support on Tuesday, four days after he was administered plasma therapy in two batches.

“He is responding well to the treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) after being on a ventilator support for six days,” said Dr. MA Andrews, principal, Thrissur Medical College Hospital.

This is the first case of successful administration of plasma therapy to treat a critical Covid-19 patient in the state.

Earlier, plasma therapy was tried on three Covid-19 patients, including former Santosh Trophy player E Hamsakoya, but none of them could be saved.

Plasma is harvested from people, who have recovered from Covid-19, at least two weeks after the cured patient has tested negative.

Doctors said plasma, measuring between 400 and 800 millilitres (ml), is harvested from a recovered patient and transfused to a critical Covid-19 patient.

Kerala has adequate stock of plasma after some youth, who recently returned from Persian Gulf nations and tested Covid-19 positive, volunteered to donate it.

The country’s first patient, a medical student (21), who had tested Covid-19 positive after she returned from Wuhan in central China, the epicentre of the initial viral outbreak, had donated plasma a month after her recovery.

“This isn’t like blood donation. Only plasma is collected from the blood. Unlike usual blood donation, the rest returns to the donor’s circulation. A healthy person can donate 800 ml of plasma, the yellowish liquid component of blood, which can treat at least four persons,” said another senior doctor of Thrissur Medical College Hospital.

However, he had a word of caution.

“It’s not necessary that all patients respond well to plasma treatment. The virus load and level of co-morbid conditions are key to a patient’s recovery,” he added.

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