Coronavirus Treatment: India’s first Covid-19 patient treated with plasma therapy recovers

Researchers around the globe are working on finding a possible confirmed treatment for COVID-19 patients and India sees a ray of hope as the country's first patient to be treated using the hyped plasma therapy recovered from the disease.

To combat the havoc caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, scientists across the world developing potential vaccine and treatment for the virus. Convalescent Plasma Therapy is the most recent treatment on which several countries are focusing. The first patient in India who was treated with convalescent plasma therapy in Delhi has now fully recovered and was discharged on this Sunday with a hopeful prophecy.

With the continuous efforts of the team of qualified doctors: Dr. Omender Singh, Dr. Deven Juneja, and Dr. Sangeeta Pathak, along with all frontline healthcare workers, the patient was finally discharged on 26 April with negative coronavirus results.

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Coronavirus Plasma Therapy Patient Recovered in Delhi

The patient was a male of 49 years and was tested positive for coronavirus on 4th April 2020 and admitted to Max Hospital, Saket with moderate symptoms and history of respiratory infections. On 8th April, he was diagnosed with pneumonia with Type-1 respiratory failure due to which he was kept in ventilation immediately. When there was no sign of improvement in his condition, his family requested the plasma therapy treatment on compassionate grounds. The donor was arranged by the family itself and the donor had recovered from coronavirus and was tested negative at the time of donation. 

On 14th April, the critically-ill patient was administered with fresh plasma collected from the donor. He was kept on a ventilator for a week and on 18th April, he was weaned off the ventilator as to maintain saturation, he needed external oxygen. Within 24 hours he was taking oral feed and was shifted to a normal room and was monitored round-the-clock. He was tested twice and the results were negative. According to the government guidelines, he will be home quarantined for the next two weeks under routine observation.  

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What is Plasma Therapy?

The plasma therapy is a ray of hope in these difficult times of the coronavirus and after the UK and China, India has also used this therapy and the first patient recovered successfully from this treatment was from Delhi. The concept of plasma therapy is quite simple and easy to understand. The treatment is based on the study that the blood or plasma of a patient who has fully recovered from Covid-19 contains antibodies with the specific ability to fight the novel COVID-19. The recovered patient’s antibodies when once administered into somebody who is still under the treatment will begin targeting and fighting the novel coronavirus in the second patient. The antibodies will strengthen the patient’s immune system and help them fight the disease more effectively. 

How does Plasma Therapy work?

The convalescent plasma therapy extracts antibodies which are developed within a virus recovered person who was earlier infected with the novel coronavirus. The antibodies developing in a fully-recovered patient are a part of the body’s natural immune response to the novel coronavirus. These antibodies are highly specific to eliminate the novel coronavirus from the patient’s body and ingested to the severely infected patient.

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A single donor can donate about 400 ml of plasma which is sufficient to save two lives suffering from coronavirus. The donated plasma is acceptable only after testing for the presence of any other severe disease-causing agents like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, etc. If the plasma is healthy, the blood is then extracted through a process to extract ‘plasma’, the liquid part of the blood that holds the antibodies specific for COVID-19 destruction. Under full observation and complete treatment techniques, the extracted antibody-rich plasma is then ingested into the body of a patient who is going through the treatment of the novel COVID-19. 

More than 500 patients with positive COVID-19 are included for the trails of Convalescent Plasma Therapy in government hospitals in India. Yet the treatment is not approved, but on compassionate ground, the family can ask for the treatment when the case is life-threatening.  

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