Even as the role of convalescent plasma therapy in COVID-19 treatment is increasingly researched, several virus-recovered doctors are going above and beyond the call of duty to help patients in distress. Some of them are travelling more than 300 km while others are squeezing in time post their ICU duty just to donate plasma and give hope to patients battling severe forms of the novel coronavirus infection.
These doctors, working in both government and private sectors, are members of Healthcare Reforms Doctors Association (HRDA). President of the association K. Mahesh Kumar said after receiving a request for plasma, they circulate the message in their association’s WhatsApp group as well as other groups comprising essential doctors. Those messages are further passed on to people from other professions who had successfully battled the infection. To place a request or donate, one can contact 9912878749.
Till date, they have coordinated around 30 donations Though at least 50 more had reached hospitals to donate plasma, they did not have required levels of antibodies against the virus.
Vice-president of the association Thota Kiran Kumar said they increased their pace of coordination after a 33-year-old COVID patient failed to get plasma despite his family’s best efforts. After initial donations, more doctors came forward to donate. “Even anaesthetists who attend COVID-19 patients for long hours have taken out the time to donate. Besides, many house surgeons have expressed willingness to donate plasma. Now, doctors diagnosed with COVID and still undergoing treatment ask us when can they donate plasma,” said Dr Kiran, who travelled from Banswada to Hyderabad in August first week to give plasma.
A few weeks ago, three house surgeons who recovered from COVID travelled from Adilabad to Hyderabad. “We stayed in Hyderabad overnight, donated plasma, returned and resumed duties,” said Bavitha Reddy, a house surgeon.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which conducted PLACID trials in 39 hospitals across India, found that convalescent plasma therapy failed to benefit COVID-19 patients.
This observation was discussed by doctors who wanted to donate. Dr Mahesh said that they are coordinating the plasma donation with a hope that the antibodies in convalescent plasma will help in early recovery of patients.