State sticks to plasma therapy




Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Friday said the state government will continue with the combination of convalescent plasma therapy and Remdesivir, the life-saving drug, as part of the COVID-19 treatment protocol.

“We will continue with the plasma therapy along with Remdesivir and steroids. We don’t want to go by what others are concluding… our doctors have assessed the treatment protocol, and we feel this is the best for (COVID) patients. The protocols can change from time to time, but we can have our own SOPs for saving lives,” Rane told media persons in Panaji.

The announcement comes in the backdrop of Indian Council of Medical Research Director Dr Balram Bhargava stating that the plasma therapy may be removed from the national guidelines on the COVID treatment.

A recent study of the World Health Organisation has found that Remdesivir has proven to have “little or no effect on hospitalised COVID-19 patients”.

Rane maintained that the plasma therapy has yielded results for doctors in Goa:  of the 263 COVID patients that were administered plasma, 186 have either shown significant signs of improvement or recovered from the deadly disease.

“The recovery rate of the patients administered with plasma is 70 per cent. Remdesivir will be given to patients for a period of five days. In exceptional cases, it may be administered for 10 days, as per the doctor’s discretion,” he explained.

Testing for COVID will be enhanced to 2000-2500

samples a day, Rane said, adding that contact tracing will be also enforced strictly.

He said that medical officers of health centres have been directed to ensure that all primary and secondary contacts of COVID patients are checked for coronavirus.

It is pertinent to note that the post-COVID clinic in the South Goa District Hospital has been made functional with X-ray and CT Scan diagnostic procedures; some 60 patients have already made good use of the services provided by the clinic.

The Health Minister said that COVID patients preferring home isolation will be monitored for 17 days. If these patients are found with COVID symptoms even after nine consecutive days of the home quarantine then they will be referred to hospital for preventative checkups.

He said that health officers have been empowered to refer home-isolated patients to hospital at the first sign of any complications.

On night clubs flouting COVID norms, Rane threatened to initiate action against the owners of such clubs.

The minister said the dialysis unit set up at the SGDH could become operational by Saturday.