Bengaluru, April 29 : An 11-member team of doctors is poised to inject plasma, extracted from two Covid survivors into a needy patient at state-run BMC Victoria hospital in the city centre to commence clinical trials, said an official on Wednesday.
"As of Wednesday, there is no such patient at Victoria hospital who fulfils all the required criteria for plasma therapy to begin.
We are waiting for the right patient to begin convalescent plasma therapy for Covid," told C.R. Jayanti, Director and Dean, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMC Victoria hospital) to IANS.
Victoria hospital has teamed up with city-based private HealthCare Global (HCG) hospital to carry out the trials, ready with the plasma of two donors who recovered from Covid.
"Two recovered patients have donated plasma.
We have one male and one female donor," told Gururaj Rao, one of the team members and a molecular and cell biologist.
He is the director of iCrest at HCG Cancer Centre.
With 216 Covid survivors in Karnataka, three more people have also volunteered to donate plasma.
Doctors in several places are trying to evaluate the efficacy of convalescent plasma therapy to cure Covid patients, aiming to transfer immunity from recovered patients.
On Monday, Karnataka Health Minister B.
Sriramulu spoke to the first plasma donor and called him a Good Samaritan.
"Personally spoke and congratulated Karnataka's first plasma donor #GoodSamaritan who has set a benchmark to our state for his service which will be remembered for," tweeted Sriramulu.
According to Rao, not all Covid survivors can randomly donate plasma as the doctors choose survivors who have completed 3-4 weeks of recovery period.
"Patients who have completed 3-4 weeks of the recovery period and are infection-free are encouraged for plasma donation.
PCR testing is performed on the patient to ensure that they are tested negative of the Covid virus," said Rao.
This medical vetting is necessary to prevent further complications to both the donee and the donor.
S. Vishal Rao, associate dean at the Centre of Academic (and) Research HCG Cancer Centre said the doctors will extract only the plasma content from a donor's blood and return the rest into the donor's body.
"Instead of taking the entire quantify of donated blood, we only extract the plasma component with the help of a machine and return the non-plasma content back into the donor's body, which causes no harm," Vishal told IANS.
Deploying a onetime use circuit, the machine centrifuges a donor's blood, separating the plasma and returning the Red Blood Cells (RBCs), platelets and White Blood Cells (WBCs) back into the donor's blood stream.
According to the American Red Cross, human blood consists of 55 per cent plasma, 45 per cent RBCs and less than 1 per cent WBCs and Platelets.
After injecting the plasma into a Covid patient, the medical team will start observing for any signs of improvement as the therapy is being touted by some of holding promise to treat the virus.
On April 20, HCG hospital received permission from Directorate General of Health Services, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (Biological Division) to conduct plasma therapy clinical trials on Covid patients.
The regulator has listed a set of 19 stringent conditions to be met, and determined BMC Victoria Hospital as the site of clinical trials.
"This is a very unique situation during a pandemic.
So the particular therapy has to be administered where the patient is. Now the patients are currently only at government hospitals," said Vishal explaining why Victoria hospital was chosen.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has reiterated that plasma therapy is not an approved treatment for Covid.
(Sharon Thambala can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)