New Delhi: A 49-year-old man from Delhi, the first COVID-19 patient to be administered the convalescent plasma therapy in the country, is recovering well and has been weaned off ventilator support. The male patient was admitted at the COVID facility at Max Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, on April 4 with moderate symptoms and a history of respiratory issues.
However, his condition deteriorated in the next few days and he soon developed pneumonia with type 1 respiratory failure, requiring ventilator support. As the patient showed no signs of improvement, his family requested the hospital for administration of the plasma therapy, a first of its kind treatment modality used for COVID-19 in India.
Hospital sources said the family arranged a donor who had recovered from the coronavirus infection. Patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks are encouraged to donate plasma, which may help save the lives of other patients.
In the current case, the donor, who had recovered from COVID-19 as confirmed by two consecutive negative reports done three weeks ago, again tested negative for COVID-19 at the time of donation. Doctors also carried out some other standard tests on the donor to rule out infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV, news agency ANI reported.
On the night of April 14, the critically ill patient was given the plasma therapy on compassionate grounds as a treatment modality as a side-line to standard treatment protocols. Following the treatment, the patient showed progressive improvement and by the fourth day, he was weaned off ventilator support (on April 18) and continued on supplementary oxygen thereafter.
The report added that the patient has been shifted to a room where he is being monitored round-the-clock. He has also started taking oral feed since April 19 and is faring well.
“We are delighted that the therapy worked well in his case, opening a new treatment opportunity during these challenging times,” Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director, Max Healthcare and Senior Director, Institute of Internal Medicine, was quoted as saying by ANI, when asked about the success of the first case administered under plasma therapy.
“But we also understand that plasma therapy is no magic bullet. During the patient’s treatment at Max Hospital, other standard treatment protocols were followed. We can say that plasma therapy could have worked as a catalyst in speeding up his recovery. We cannot attribute 100 per cent recovery to plasma therapy only,” he said.
“In a country like India, a therapy of such kind has a good potential to help COVID-19 patients, who have disease severity, which fits into moderate to severe category. The government regulations should work towards making it more accessible for hospitals. One donor can donate 400 ml of plasma which can save two lives, as 200 ml is sufficient to treat one patient,” he further added.
Reportedly, the patient is recovering well with two consecutive tests showing negative for the deadly virus. Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases in India has now risen to 18,601, as per the Union Health Ministry.