Countries across the global continue to practice lockdown amid COVID-19 pandemic as the number of cases, worldwide, reach 2.71 million while the death toll globally is at 191K. With medical teams conducting clinical trials globally in their hunt for the effective vaccine that could treat COVID-19, experts believe that it could happen only by 2021. Also Read - Unlock 1, Day 3: Over 8,000 Fresh Cases Recorded in Past 24 Hours as Life Moves Towards Normalcy
In such a time of crisis, doctors in India and abroad are turning to experiment with Plasma Therapy or Convalescent Serum that helped treat the influenza outbreak in 1918 and also the infamous SARS epidemic to some extent. The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) recently granted approval to conduct clinical trials on coronavirus patients using convalescent plasma therapy, to HCG Cancer Centre in Bengaluru. While doctors there suggest that one-fourth of the 400 clinical trials running around COVID-19 reportedly involve plasma therapy, only a Chinese wall between people who test positive and negative can help open up the Indian economy. Also Read - Heartwarming! Amid Lockdown, Kerala Operates 70-Seater Boat to Ferry Just One Schoolgirl to Help Her Take Exams
For the uninitiated, through Plasma therapy those who have fully recovered from coronavirus can help the suffering patients by donating their plasma which is said to have COVID-19 antibodies. Plasma therapy helps facilitate recovery as the antibodies could be lifesaving to others who are critically ill. Also Read - Mohammed Shami Distributes Food Packets And Masks, Making Efforts to Arrange Flights For Stranded Migrants
In an interview with a leading international news agency, Dr. Steven Berk, an Infectious Disease Specialist and Dean of the Texas Tech School of Medicine, shared, “They tried to do something like this in the influenza outbreak in 1918. We don’t have good data on how that worked. But convalescent serum seems to have cured some patients with Ebola and it was even used in the SARS epidemic with some improvement. So the FDA is letting us and others look at this as kind of an investigational drug.”
He added, “There’s no treatment. Treatment is supportive, giving fluids, giving oxygen, intubating the patient if that has to be done. So its very frustating to physicians and the staff in ICU to feel like they don’t have anything to offer these patients. So this is a hope. And it has a good chance of working. It has even improved morale in some of the ICUS. Now that we have this potential treatment. we have principal invstigators in each hospial that will decide what pateint would be best to get this therapy.”
Dr Vishal Rao of HCG explained in an interview with YourStory, “The challenge in front of us is ‘can we save every life currently at threat by the virus.” He is hopeful that since viruses like influenza and SARS could be treated using the same method, convalescent plasma theory has help treat the patients of COVID-19 as well.