Innovative Treatment-Convalescent Plasma Therapy for COVID-19

In News

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology (SCTIMST) developed an innovative treatment for the COVID-19 disease called Convalescent Plasma Therapy.

In-Detail

  • SCTIMST, an institute of national importance has taken a progressive step for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
  • The Convalescent Plasma Therapy aims to use the immune power of a recovered COVID-19 person for treatingan infected person.
  • The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has given the approval for carrying out the novel treatment.
  • SCTIMST has applied for permissions to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for relaxation of the norms for blood donation.
  • This plasma therapy is a passive immunization, where the protection given is temporary.
  • The effectiveness of the treatment lasts till the antibodies injected remain in the bloodstream.
  • This is an experimental therapy restricted for severely affected patients only and conducted as a clinical trial.
  • COVID clinics of five medical college hospitals are partnering with SCTIMST.

Mode of Treatment

  • First, the potential donor has to undergo a blood test. The test must be negative for COVID-19 and the donor had to be declared cured. Then the potential donor has to be asymptomatic for 28 days.
  • Then the blood is collected from the donor and serum is separated.
  • The serum is screened for virus-neutralisingantibodies i.e. convalescent serum.
  • Convalescent serum, rich in antibodies for the pathogen is administrated to the diseased patient.
  • The antibody will stay for at least two to four days on the recipient. During this period, the patient will recover.
  • The immune system mounts robust combat on the virus with the help of the antibody.
  • Research reports from the USA and China show that the beneficial effect of recovery from plasma transfusion is gained in the first three to four days and the effect is not visible later.

How Safe Is The Treatment?

  • With modern blood banking techniques, it is not difficult to match the blood type donor and the recipient. The risks of transferring known infectious agents are low.
  • Before donating the blood, the donor will be examined and tested for mandatory factors such as hepatitis, HIV, malaria, and so on to ensure that different pathogens are not transmitted to the recipient.

Challenges

  • This therapy is not simple, due to the difficulty in acquiring the significant amounts of plasma from the survivors.
  • Most of the victims of COVID-19 are aged patients and suffering from other medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. So not all the recovered patients can donate the blood.

Institute of National Importance

  • The premier public higher education institutions in India are awarded as Institute of National Importance (INI) by an Act of Parliament. These institutions are pivotal players in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region.
  • INIs receive special recognition and funding from the Government of India.
  • Five conventional INIs for medicines are PGIMER Chandigarh, AIIMS New Delhi, JIPMER Pondicherry, NIMHANS Bangalore, and SCTMIST Thiruvananthapuram.
  • These institutes are sub-grouped under different specialized sectors like agricultural sciences, design, engineering, medicine, management, information technology etc.
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