Pakistan’s first COVID-19 patient donates plasma for new therapy

Blood plasma of recovered patients may help treat critically ill people

​ Our Correspondent April 02, 2020
Blood plasma of recovered patients may help treat critically ill people. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Yahya Jaffery, the first coronavirus patient to recover from the contagious disease in Pakistan, has donated plasma for the possible treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Addressing a press conference at Children’s Hospital Karachi on Thursday with Jaffery and his parents, hospital CEO and haematologist Dr Saqib Ansari requested the government to permit the use of plasma for coronavirus treatment, claiming that it would help save lives of those affected by the disease.

“We need no funds, new machinery or workforce as Children’s Hospital Karachi is ready to offer its services free of cost,” he maintained, adding that his team was fighting the pandemic on three fronts: identifying patients, treating them and controlling the panic in society.

He also said that the hospital was collaborating with Houston Methodist Hospital in the United States in this regard.

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Talking about recent medical advances, Dr Ansari said that the plasma of recovered coronavirus patients was being used in several parts of the developed world, while clinical trials are also being conducted for the purpose. He maintained that plasma infusion in critical COVID-19 patients had yielded excellent results in other countries.

According to him, plasma therapy was only being applied to critically ill patients, while around 90 per cent of coronavirus patients recovered without being admitted to intensive care units.

Lauding Jaffery’s cooperation and calling him a hero for the nation, he appealed to other recovered patients to come forward and donate. He said that recovered patients between the ages of 18 and 50 could safely donate; however, due to chances of complications, plasma is not usually taken from women.

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Dr Ansari claimed that the hospital had the capacity to receive plasma from all recovered patients in Pakistan so far, and to process it quickly. He added that the necessary procedures could be carried out by machines used for the treatment of dengue patients, which are already present in many hospitals.

Meanwhile, Jaffery, addressing the press conference, said optimistically, “In the near future, the virus will become history and all that will be remembered is our resolve and determination.”

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