A campaign has been launched in Mysuru by a group of volunteers on the need for setting up a full-fledged plasma therapy centre here after some donors faced reported inconveniences in donating their plasma for the treatment of critically-ill COVID-19 patients.
The Mysuru Medical College and Research Institute (MMCRI) has tied-up with Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) for plasma separation from the blood cells since MIMS is the only institute in the region which is equipped with the plasmapheresis device which separates plasma from the blood cells.
The device at the blood bank of the State-run K.R. Hospital, the teaching hospital of MMCRI, is ‘obsolete’ and reportedly does not conform to the new guidelines. This device was procured in 1990, it is learnt.
Sources told The Hindu that the device costs around ₹45-50 lakh and the MMCRI was making use of the device at Mandya after it was identified for carrying out the plasma therapy. Some COVID-19 warriors and patients who recovered from the infection had donated their plasma recently on an appeal from the district administration.
Till recently, four critically-ill patients had undergone the therapy – one in Shivamogga and three in Mysuru – and were then said to have shown ‘improvement’ in their condition. MMCRI is also evaluating the outcome of plasma therapy on the recovery of COVID-19 patients.
The degree and extent of recovery after the transfusion may vary from patient to patient and the same is being documented by the MMCRI to check its benefit on the patients. The MMCRI is clinically documenting every case in accordance with the guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
B.S. Prashanth, convener, Let’s Do It Mysuru, an NGO which has launched the campaign, said Mysuru has been witnessing a large number of cases almost every day and the deaths are the second highest after Bengaluru. “When this is the case, and when there are hopes of recovery from plasma therapy, the government should provide all infrastructure that is essential for establishing a fully functional plasma therapy centre.”
“The campaign intends to save the lives of the patients. We want our campaign to reach the Chief Minister’s office so that the required facility is provided to Mysuru.”
Mr. Prashanth said two persons who were ready to donate their plasma for saving the life of an infected person hospitalised at a private hospital here were made to travel between Mysuru and Mandya in the absence of the plasma separation facility here. “When donors are scarce, we need to make the arrangements for convenient blood donation,” he argued.
Sources said the efficacy of the procedure on the patient cannot be predicted. After passing some tests and parameters, only a medically ‘fit’ person can donate his or her plasma. There have been some instances of donors certified unhealthy and their donation being rejected.
A senior MMCRI official said, “Efforts are being made to procure a device soon.”