Critical Connect: A Website Helps Find Plasma For Severe COVID-19 Patients

by Amitabh Joshi 9 months ago Views 1172

It’s the last line of defence. When all else fails in treating a COVID-19 patient in critical condition, doctors often prescribe plasma therapy.

And plasma is not easy to get, as Delhi’s Adwitiya Mal found out in a frantic four-day search for the precious blood component to save his father-in-law’s life.

He did ultimately get lucky in finding a donor and as things turned out, his father-in-law recovered in the ICU and was ultimately brought home. But for Adwitiya, it wasn’t over. Seeing the extreme difficulty in getting the plasma, he and an associate, Mukul Pahwa, set up a website which would enable a plasma donor and recipient to connect directly.

“We have gone through this traumatic experience. It took us four precious days to arrange the plasma. It all turned out fine but in those four days we felt all the grades of helplessness and desperation that there are”, Mal states on his website.

“In those four days we met many more equally desperate people looking for that elixir but in those same four days we also met those kind and generous people that donated their plasma to our loved one”, he remarks.

And therefore the website hopes it “can help find more of these souls for the people who need them the most”.

( as on June 29)

The website only interfaces between the donor and recipient and not with the medical institution involved. Timely contact details, location and blood group are critical for making a match.

One of the biggest hurdles Mal faced during the frantic search for the plasma was time-wasting information gaps in the medical system.

Even after a match is made, the hospital requires conducting its own tests on the donor for a medical profile.

The COVID-19 plasma therapy uses antibodies from those who have recovered. When in the bloodstream of a critically ill patient, these antibodies evoke a booster immune response.

The therapy is still in a clinical trial phase in the country and only select medical institutes are authorised to use it.

It can only be prescribed on an individual basis by a doctor and is not on the regular treatment sheet of hospitals.

As per ICMR guidelines, plasma is to be collected from donors 28 days after they make a complete recovery from illness or are symptom-free and have more than the required level of antibodies against COVID 19.

Dhoondh’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The Delhi government decided on Monday to set up a plasma bank to help COVID-19 patients. The national capital is reeling under a coronavirus onslaught with over 83,000 cases recorded so far, the second highest in the country after Maharashtra.

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