KARACHI: Pakistani scientists are awaiting approval to start clinical trials for a treatment they claim can cure coronavirus.
A research team from Dow University of Medical Sciences, the country’s leading health institution, has devised intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) with plasma obtained from the blood of patients recovered from coronavirus, according to a statement.
The plasma teeming with anti-bodies was donated by patients after recovering from the illness.
Lab tests and animal trials were successful. The next step is to initiate clinical trials.
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"This is a very important breakthrough in the war against COVID-19," professor Shaukat Ali, the head of the research team, told Anadolu Agency.
This way of treatment is safe, low risk and highly effective against coronavirus, Ali said.
He urged recovered coronavirus patients to donate blood as their plasma is the vital "raw material" for this treatment.
So far, over 1,000 coronavirus patients have recovered out of more than 5,000 reported cases in the country.
This method is also a type of passive immunisation, he added.
Many countries across the world including Turkey, France and the US are holding clinical trials for plasma therapy or transfusion to fight the novel virus.
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However, the Pakistani doctor said, the treatment they have devised is safer and more effective than plasma transfusion as it does not carry the undesired component of blood like plasma proteins, potential bacterial and viral pathogens.
These treatments have globally been effectively used to curb other viral epidemics like MERS, SARS and Ebola, he said.
Scientists world over are grappling to find a cure for COVID-19 which has claimed over 114,000 lives globally after it appeared in China last December.
More than 1.85 million people have been infected worldwide, while an upward of 434,000 have made a recovery, according to US-based John Hopkins University.