New Delhi: Delhi is all set to set up India’s first plasma bank to fight the novel coronavirus.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Monday the plasma bank will come up at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in south Delhi in 2-3 days.
“We have been receiving a lot of calls asking for plasma donors… people have been struggling. In view of the rising demand, we have decided to come up with a plasma bank,” Kejriwal said at a media briefing, urging people to come forward to donate plasma.
The ILBS is among the medical institutes that got an approval in mid-April to conduct plasma therapy.
Convalescent plasma therapy involves injecting patients with plasma from people who have recovered from the infection, and whose bodies have, therefore, generated the antibodies required to fight the novel coronavirus. This is different from plasma exchange therapy, wherein the plasma is removed from a sick patient and replaced with plasma from a healthy donor.
The chief minister mentioned Delhi has conducted 29 clinical trials of plasma therapy and the results have been encouraging.
He also said of the 35 patients, who received the therapy at the LNJP Hospital, 34 have recovered, and, of the 49 patients, who received it at a private hospital, 46 have recovered.
Also read: Plasma therapy works only when donor has recently recovered from Covid-19, says study
‘Not a Sanjeevani booti’
Kejriwal, however, said plasma therapy doesn’t guarantee recovery of critically-ill patients. But, according to estimates, it is proving to be helpful for treatment.
“It should not be seen as a Sanjeevani booti (divine herb),” he said.
The chief minister also made an appeal, asking people to donate plasma. “I request you all with folded hands to come forward and donate plasma as there is nothing bigger and better than saving someone’s life,” Kejriwal said.
Allaying fears of contracting the infection again by visiting a Covid hospital, the CM said this is why ILBS will be used as the centre for the plasma bank as it is not a coronavirus facility.
The commute to and from the centre will be arranged by the Delhi government, provided one is a willing donor, he said, adding that a helpline will also be launched for those keen to donate.
Kejriwal also said anyone who wants this therapy can avail of it from the plasma bank. He also added it was important to keep political differences aside, and fight the pandemic together to save as many lives as possible.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal announced a compensation of Rs 1 crore for the family of Dr Asheem Gupta, a senior consultant of anaesthetics working at the LNJP Hospital, who died of Covid Sunday morning.
Like Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Monday took to Twitter and urged people to donate plasma and said one doesn’t get an opportunity often to save someone’s life.
दिल्ली सरकार देश का पहला plasma bank बना रही है। कोरोना से ठीक हो चुके लोग अपना plasma जरूर दान करें। किसी की जान बचाने का मौका बहुत कम मिलता है। इससे बड़ा कोई धर्म नहीं।
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) June 29, 2020
Several AAP leaders, including health minister Satyender Jain, took to Twitter to appreciate the move.
Jain, who tested positive for Covid-19 and was administered plasma therapy after his condition deteriorated last week, said it helped saved his life and that he pledges to donate his plasma “as soon as medical protocols will allow”.
Kalkaji MLA Atishi, who is currently in home-isolation after testing positive for Covid, put out a video, saying she would donate her plasma after her recovery.
AAP spokesperson Akshay Marathe and adviser to Delhi government Abhinandita Dayal Mathur also pledged to donate their plasma after their recovery from Covid-19.
Also read: Finding more plasma donors for Covid therapy isn’t just science, it’s a demand-supply chain