Bengaluru: Patients who had been cured of coronavirus infection can donate their plasma to help other ailing patients to recover as plasma from one survivor can save the lives of two infected patients, said Health Minister B. Sriramulu. Sriramulu's appeal assumes significance as an 11-member doctor's team is working on plasma therapy at the BMC Victoria Hospital, which was given permission to clinical trials in this regard. A joint team of government and private hospital healthcare professionals have taken plasma from two donors, collecting 500 ml from each while three more have volunteered to donate. Sriramulu personally called up and appreciated Karnataka's first plasma donor. US Vishal Rao, associate dean at the Centre of Academic & Research HCG Cancer Centre and a key member of the clinical trials team, said the experimentation is taking place in two phases. "In the next few days, our requirement (plasma) will definitely be there. What is the exact requirement? None of us knows. But what we know is that it will be required in future," Rao was quoted speaking to IANS. He said the medical team is looking for at least 20 donors and all of them will not be readily available. "That's why the Minister has come forward to make a personal appeal; this is a very important call for a clinical trial setting," Rao said. Until Friday, 251 Covid patients have been cured and discharged in the state. Rao said 180 people have recovered from the virus, out of whom 50 are in the city. "Our first priority is to look at patients in Bengaluru for plasma donations -- not everyone will be ready for the donation," he said. Even if a donor is ready, his blood has to match with the donee. "All this is very essential, that's why we are keeping a few more donors ready. Else, in an emergency where will, you run? In this situation, speed is paramount. That's why the Minister has come forward to make the personal appeal," said Rao. According to Gururaj Rao, another team member and a molecular and cell biologist and director of iCrest at HCG Cancer Centre, not all cured patients can randomly donate plasma as they ought to complete 3-4 weeks of recovery. Donors also have to be infection-free, undergo Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing and also test negative for Covid. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had recently reiterated that plasma therapy is not an approved line of treatment for Covid-19.
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