Plasma therapy trials to treat critical COVID-19 patients begin in Karnataka




The Karnataka government on Saturday commenced clinical trials of convalescent plasma therapy to treat coronavirus patients in critical condition.

Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar, along with Health and Family Welfare Minister Sriramulu inaugurated clinical trials of the Therapy at Victoria hospital here.

“This is a historic moment for the state and I am confident that Plasma therapy will help serious COVID-19 affected patients to recover. I have always maintained that Plasma treatment is very effective for patients in critical condition and am relieved when we got permission for trials and able to commence trials in just 3-4 days after receiving permission from the Centre,” Sudhakar was quoted as saying in a release.

The Minister, who is leading the government’s efforts against COVID-19 in Bengaluru and is in charge of the state war room, also thanked the person who fully recovered from COVID-19 and volunteered to donate plasma cells, as he urged successfully treated patients to come forward to donate plasma and help in recovery of patients in Intensive Care Units.

Trials for treatment of patients on ventilators will start next week, he added.

According to officials, patients who have recovered from COVID-19 have been requested to come forward as donors, as antibodies of cured patients will be used to treat critically ill under this therapy.

In this treatment, plasma cells from a COVID-19 patient who has recovered from the disease is transfused into a coronavirus patient who is in critical condition by infusing plasma therapy.

According to the last update, five COVID-19 patients are in ICUs in the state.

Health Minister Sriramulu expressed hope that the Convalescent Plasma Therapy will be a torchbearer in the fight against the virus.

“Karnataka has taken a lead role as we initiate Phase I clinical trials to use Convalescent Plasma Therapy for severe COVID-19 infected patients. BMC Victoria hospital took the first step today. We are determined to vanquish this enemy of mankind,” he said in a tweet.

The Directorate of Public Health under Union Government recently accorded permission for using plasma therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in Karnataka.

Dr Vishal Rao of the Bangalore Institute of Oncology was given permission to conduct clinical trial on this.

Plasma therapy was effectively used in the past during Ebola and Spanish flu pandemic.