BENGALURU: The plasma therapy, meant for severely and critically ill Covid-19 patients, has seen a 60 per cent success rate among 354 patients treated under plasma trials being conducted by Dr U S Vishal Rao at HCG Hospital in partnership with Victoria Hospital under the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute.
“A detailed analysis will be done and sent to the government. However, as per our current analysis, 60 percent of the patients have recovered, which is a big thing. Nearly 90 per cent of these patients were on ventilator at the time of plasma therapy. We have had 193 plasma donors so far,” said Dr Rao, head and neck surgical oncologist and robotic surgeon, who is also a member of the Covid consultative group in the state. The remaining 40 per cent of patients passed away.
The therapy involves taking the plasma, a component of the blood, from a Covid-recovered patient and administering it to a critical corona-positive patient. The antibodies present in the plasma help fight the virus. “We have seen the results of plasma working anywhere between 24 hours and a week. One of the patients was about to be put on ventilator as Remdesivir was not working. The hospital approached us and we gave them the plasma. The next day, he did not need the ventilator. By the third day, he was off oxygen and by the fifth day he had turned Covid-negative and was ready to be discharged as the antibodies had killed the virus,” Dr Rao explained.
The trial is aimed at avoiding Covid deaths in the ICU and preventing people from requiring ICU care at all. The plasma bank set up at HCG gets nearly 20 calls per day asking for plasma, but it is hard to meet the requirement. Dr Rao has recommended to the government to set up a plasma bank in every district, as it does not require a big investment and is easy to set up.
“Results will be evaluated in September or October and after that, Phase-3 of the trials will begin. Apart from clinical trials, 300 patients are being given plasma at the moment. A similar trend of recovery is being observed. In all, 60-70 patients have been moved out of the ICU and 40-45 have been discharged,” said Dr Shalini Thakur, consultant, head and neck surgeon and coordinator for donor approval and plasma operations at HCG.She said that plasma has been sent to Tamil Nadu, Srinagar, Andhra Pradesh and other districts in Karnataka.