A medic works with a sample for a rapid antibody test in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha | Representational image | PTI
A medic works with a sample for a rapid antibody test in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha | Representational image | PTI
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New Delhi: As the coronavirus pandemic rages on across both sides of the border and healthcare systems and authorities are under pressure to cope, it is regular people who have stepped up with some efforts of their own.

Plasma therapy involves the infusion of plasma from a recovered Covid-19 patient to a recovering one as a source of antibodies. On Tuesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said its study on plasma therapy (PLACID trial) is still ongoing, and that plasma therapy remains an experimental form of treatment for Covid-19 in India.

But that hasn’t stopped citizens from doing their bit to contribute to the fight against Covid. KAB Welfare Foundation, an NGO in India previously engaged in blood donation initiatives, has teamed up with software services company Signavio India and set up channels for connecting plasma donors to recipients.

Dhoondh.com, a website with a similar aim, was launched around mid-June by Adwitiya Mal and Mukul Pahwa, who claim the website attracted roughly 150 patients and 190 donors within a few days. Mal, a Delhi-based entrepreneur had experienced first-hand the difficulties in obtaining plasma when his father-in-law tested positive and needed it.

According to the website, coordinating between donors and recipients is a three-step process that involves registration, algorithm-based matching and, finally, passing on the donor’s details to the recipient. Registration involves a mandatory questionnaire for both patients and donors that inquires about blood group, recovery status from Covid-19 and other health issues. If after registration, there is a donor-recipient match, both parties are informed via email and contact information is shared.

Also read: Tulsi drops, amla & flaxseeds to Chyawanprash, immunity boosters are flavour of the season

Across the border, a Facebook group by a musician is giving hope

Corona Recovered Warriors, a Facebook group for convalescent plasma donations for people fighting Covid-19 in Pakistan has garnered over 328,000 members within a month, reports Reuters.

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The group was created on 27 May by Lahore-based musician Zoraiz Riaz, who said 85 per cent of its members are looking for plasma while the rest are seeking medical supplies, oxygen, ventilators, injections for drugs and even information on hospital availability. This comes as the country registers 213,470 infections and more than 4,300 deaths.

According to the Facebook group’s bio the donation is meant to be free of charge, following the Islamic practice of “sadqa Jariya” or the act of voluntary charity.

According to Riaz, each request for plasma is screened by the group’s volunteers and requires medical documentation from physicians indicating that the treatment is viable. Members also offer home-cooked food for affected families and some have given ventilators and oxygen cylinders to hospitals. Also, donors are screened to ensure there is no sale of plasma.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services had announced action against illegal trading of blood plasma and black marketing of life-saving drugs. As per the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act 2012, commercial dealing and trade of human organs and tissues is illegal in the country.

Also read: How a small Delhi group helped over 4,200 migrant workers reach home in UP, Bihar, Jharkhand


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