MADURAI: The 34-year-old cleanliness worker at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH), who recovered from COVID-19 last month, has become the first plasma donor in Madurai for convalescent plasma therapy clinical trial.
On May 8, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved 28 institutions across the country to conduct PLACID (Convalescent Plasma to Limit COVID-19 Associated Complications in Moderate Disease) trial. In Tamil Nadu, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai, GRH in Madurai, Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital (TvMCH) and Christian Medical College in Vellore were approved to conduct the trial.
According to sources at Tamil Nadu State Blood Transfusion Council, the trial is a part of an ICMR-approved study that would ascertain if the therapy is an effective treatment for patients exhibiting moderate symptoms of COVID-19. Only COVID-19 patients who exhibited mild symptoms can participate in the trial after recovery, thus making very few donors eligible, added they.
GRH Dean Dr J Sangumani said after careful evaluation of 45 persons who recovered from COVID-19, six were identified and called in. Of them, the 37-year-old contractual cleanliness worker at GRH, who tested positive for COVID-19 on April 14, consented for plasma donation. He was found infected after cleaning a COVID-19 ward. He was discharged on April 26 and is yet to return to work.
Speaking to TNIE, the worker, who was the first cleanliness worker in South Tamil Nadu to test positive for COVID-19, said, "I was told by the hospital that my plasma could potentially help COVID-19 patients recover. I agreed to donate as I could help save at least two lives. Because, I know what ordeal one would face due to the disease."
The dean added that the worker who had completed 14 days since recovery (accompanied by two negative RT-PCR results) gave his blood samples at the hospital's blood bank on Monday for pre-donation screening and tests. After found to be eligible, he donated 500 ml of plasma. The plasma can be stored for a year and unlike a blood donor, a plasma donor can donate again after a period of two weeks, added Sangumani. Although there is no COVID-19 patient (at GRH) who would be an eligible plasma recipient, plasma donation would still be encouraged due to the shelf life of plasma.
Eligibility to donate
* Patients admitted with COVID-19 that was confirmed through RT-PCR test
* Must have exhibited mild/moderate symptoms like fever and cough during the infection period
* Aged between 18 and 65
* Complete resolution of symptoms at least 28 days prior to donation/Complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation and two negative RT-PCR test for COVID-19, done 24 hours apart.
* Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients who recovered
* Pregnant women
* Breastfeeding women