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COVID-19 Patient Given Plasma Therapy Shows Improvement, Weaned Off the Ventilator

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A critical COVID-19 patient admitted to a private hospital here has shown signs of improvement and was taken off ventilator support after he was administered plasma therapy, officials said on Tuesday.

The 49-year-old had tested positive for coronavirus on April 4 and the same day he was admitted to the dedicated COVID facility in East Block of Max Hospital, Saket, with moderate symptoms and a history of fever and respiratory issues.

His condition deteriorated during the next few days and he soon required external oxygen to maintain saturation, hospital authorities said.

“He soon developed pneumonia with Type I respiratory failure and had to be put on ventilator support on April 8,” the hospital said in a statement on Monday.

When the patient showed no improvement in his condition, his family requested the hospital for administration of plasma therapy on compassionate grounds, “a first of its kind treatment modality that was used for this disease in India,” it said.

The hospital authorities said that this patient has shown positive results and was recently weaned off ventilator support.

Dr. Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director, Max Healthcare, said, “We are delighted that the therapy worked well in his case, opening a new treatment opportunity during these challenging times. But it is important that we also understand that plasma therapy is no magic bullet”.

Other standard treatment protocols were followed during the patient’s treatment at Max Hospital, Saket. He added 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, as there are multiple factors which carved his path to recovery,” he said.

Hospital authorities said the family came forward to arrange a donor for extracting plasma.

“The donor had recovered from the infection three weeks ago and again tested COVID-19 negative at the time of donation along with other standard tests to rule out infections like Hep B, Hep C and HIV,” the statement said.

The critically ill patient was administered fresh plasma as a treatment modality as a side-line to standard treatment protocols on the night of April 14.

After receiving the treatment, the patient showed progressive improvement, and by the fourth day, the hospital authorities said he was weaned off ventilator support and continued on supplementary oxygen thereafter.

He has been shifted to a room with round-the-clock monitoring at present. They said he has started taking oral feed since Sunday and is faring well.

Budhiraja said, “One donor can donate 400 ml of plasma which can save two lives, as 200 ml is sufficient to treat one patient”.

The patient is now doing well, and his two consecutive COVID-19 tests have come negative, the hospital authorities said.

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