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3 Indian-American COVID-19 patients in critical condition

Houston: Three Indian Americans, including an IT professional and a doctor, have been tested positive for coronavirus in Houston this week and are in critical condition in a hospital here.

The families of Rohan Bavadekar, 42, an IT professional, and Lavanga Veluswamy, a doctor, have urgently appealed for blood donation from anyone who has recently recovered from COVID-19. 

Rohan contracted the disease during his business travel recently. He needs blood group A or AB. His wife Manasi and three children have also contracted the virus and are quarantined at their home.

Veluswamy’s wife Rama, herself a physician, has urgently appealed for the blood group A or AB. The doctor couple have been long time resident of Houston, before moving to Beaumont, in Texas.  The third COVID-19 patient, has preferred to stay anonymous and is waiting for the plasma transfusion at Memorial Hermann hospital here.

According to doctors at the St Lukes and Memorial Hermann, who are treating them, “the best match in such circumstances would be someone who has recovered from COVID-19 in the past two weeks and is now healthy”. 

The hospitals are trying their best to find a plasma match for these patients. Friends and well-wishers of the family are spreading the word in the Houston area to try and look for a possible match that can save their lives. 

Sewa International, a non-profit humanitarian charity, which has been working with these affected families, is consolidating all potential donor information.

“Sewa International is collecting information of all potential donors and only the doctors can say if the donor matches or not after due testing and evaluation,” Achlesh Amar, a Sewa volunteer, said

Plasma from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies made by the immune system to attack the virus. The hope is that transfusing such plasma into a patient still fighting the virus may transfer the power of the antibodies into a healing, possibly life-saving therapy. 

Houston Methodist Hospital is the first hospital in the the US to try the experimental convalescent serum therapy.

“Convalescent serum therapy could be a vital treatment route because unfortunately there is relatively little to offer many patients except supportive care, and the ongoing clinical trials are going to take a while,” Dr. Eric Salazar, a physician scientist with Methodist’s Research Institute, said in a statement. “We don’t have that much time,” Salazar said.

Sewa has appealed to the entire community through its 40-plus chapters in the US and via Facebook for donors of plasma to come forward for these patients treatment.

SEWA is also helping those on the front lines to stop the spread of coronavirus and treat the sick by supplying them with personal protection equipment, which is in dire need due to scarcity throughout America.

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