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CMCH to start convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients

The Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) is all set to begin convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients with the opening of a plasma bank at the tertiary care facility on Sunday.

Minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development S.P. Velumani and Minister for Health and Family Welfare C. Vijayabaskar inaugurated the plasma bank set up at a cost of ₹25 lakh.

A photojournalist, a house surgeon of CMCH, and two army men were the first four persons to donate plasma at the facility on Sunday. The donors had recovered from COVID-19 recently.

According to Dr. Vijayabaskar, antibodies in the plasma neutralise the virus, reduce the viral load in patients and their dependence on oxygen support.

The CMCH medical team has identified patients who will receive the plasma transfusion in the coming days.

CMCH Dean P. Kalidas said that plasma bank uses Apheresis method to collect plasma from voluntary donors.

This method involves collection of plasma alone from the donor while other blood components are re-introduced into the bloodstream of the donor.

A. Mangayarkarasi, medical officer of the blood bank at CMCH, said that 400ml of plasma was collected from donors on Sunday though upto 500 ml can be collected.

“Voluntary donors are screened for various diseases before collecting plasma. Their blood sample is also checked to assess the level of IgG antibodies against COVID-19. 200 ml of plasma will be transfused to the receiver on two consecutive days,” she said.

Ten more donors have registered for donation, she added.

Persons aged between 18 and 65 who recovered from COVID-19 are eligible to donate plasma, 14 days after they test negative for the disease. People with hypertension, diabetes, heart and kidney diseases, cancer and those who have undergone organ transplantation are not eligible to donate plasma. An eligible donor can donate plasma twice in 28 days and the plasma stored at -40 degrees Celsius can be kept for a year.

The two Ministers conducted a review meeting which was attended by Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan, District Collector K. Rajamani, City Police Commissioner Sumit Sharan, Deputy Inspector General of Coimbatore range K.S. Narenthiran Nair, Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner Sravan Kumar Jatavath, Deputy Director of Health Services G. Ramesh Kumar, City Health Officer S. Raja and senior officials from various departments.

After the meeting, Dr. Vijayabaskar said that the Health Department conducted 6,312 fever camps in which 1,902 persons were diagnosed with COVID-19. Coimbatore district’s recovery rate stood at 78 % as of Saturday.

He said that aggressive testing as done in Chennai will be conducted in Coimbatore. He added that efforts were being taken to introduce COVID-19 test results through SMS. – The Hindu

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