2020 has been a year of life and death. Covid-19 has killed more than 110K people and the graph is still going on. Till date there is no specific medicine or vaccine for covid-19. Yet, medical science has created a temporary treatment to recover patients and that is Plasma therapy.
In Assam, an average of around 24,277 total cases of Covid-19 were recorded. Plasma therapy, though came up as a momentary solution, but its availability has become a big issue.
In the context of what Plasma Therapy is, how it helps and how it can be provided, Daily Pachali had a conversation with Dr. Saurav Kar, senior PGT in Orthopaedic Department of SMCH. Dr. Saurav Kar, as the president, runs an organization named “Prochesta” along with a team. Prochesta is an NGO that mainly deals with plasma donations.
In the conversation with Daily Pachali, Dr Kar has clarified a lot about plasma donation and plasma therapy which is discussed below.
Plasma Therapy is a provisional treatment to the patients suffering from Covid-19. As it is very much aware that medicines or vaccines are still not fully proven against Covid-19, plasma therapy is the only way to achieve the need of the hour. Plasma contains one of the proteins called Immunoglobulin (IgG), which when transfused to covid patients boosts their immune system of their body which helps in fighting the novel virus.
Plasma can be donated by covid recovered patients who has completed atleast 28 days after being tested negative. Although it is adviced that mainly symptomatic patients can donate, but a few asymptomatic patients were also found to have high IgG titre and qualified for donation. Patients from the age 20 to 60 years can donate plasma and so can females except for the ones who have children, or got abortions or pregnancy.
There is no particular registration process to donate plasma in SMCH. Anyone who has completed atleast 20 days from their recovery can get screened at SMCH and donate so, if eligible.
Till date, SMCH has received plasma from around 200 donors with no complaints regarding health whatsoever.
Since plasma therapy is so much in demand apparently, SMCH plasma bank is going short of plasma daily. Almost everyday, SMCH is receiving not less than 30 requisition but merely 5-6 donation are being possible due to the shortage. People are not willing to donate plasma where the lack of awareness, proper knowledge about the donation along with the procedure might be a valid reason for the refrainments.
A single plasma donor can save two lives. Recovered and eligible patients can be made aware about plasma therapy is, by educating them about the benefits and noble cause behind it.
“For past one month, our full team Prochesta is tirelessly working day and night to fulfil the requirement of plasma. To cover such large number of recovered patients, we are short of manpower. We’re failing to motivate people outside Silchar. Because of only single plasma apheresis machine which is covering the whole Barak Valley, were failing to satisfy our donors too. One donor needs to wait for more than 5-6 hours to donate plasma.” said Dr. Kar he was asked about the challenges and the stigma faced by the NGO Prochesta. He further urged people to come forward on their own for plasma donation saying “To save lives, there’s no need to be a doctor anymore. Donate plasma and be a savior.”