Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the plasma therapy trial conducted on four COVID-19 patients here has yielded very encouraging initial results, giving a ray of hope to seriously-ill coronavirus patients.
Addressing an online media briefing, Kejriwal said more clinical trials of plasma therapy will take place over the next two-three days, and his government will seek the Centre's nod next week for using the technique on all seriously ill COVID-19 patients in the city.
The chief minister expressed hope that the Union government will give a go-ahead to the treatment regimen.
"Ten days ago, we had got permission from the Central government to conduct a clinical trial of plasma therapy only on four serious COVID-19 patients admitted at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.
"The initial results are every encouraging and good. It gives a ray of hope to save people's lives from coronavirus," he said.
He was joined by S K Sarin, the director of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Science, at the press conference.
The four patients who were given plasma therapy have shown improvement in their health condition, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation, Kejriwal said.
Two of the four patients, whose condition was serious, have now been shifted to general ward from the ICU and two others are also responding well, he said.
The chief minister, however, said that these are only initial results and nobody should think that the government has found a cure for coronavirus.
In the plasma therapy, antibodies from the blood of a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 are used to treat serious patients.
"Once we get the nod from the Centre, we will be able to use plasma therapy on all serious COVID-19 patients across Delhi. I reiterate that this is an early result which is very encouraging. We must not think that we have found a cure for COVID-19," Kejriwal said.
The chief minister appealed to all people who have recovered from the disease to come forward and donate plasma for serious COVID-19 patients to save their lives.
S K Sarin said that if 10 to 20 COVID-19 patients are treated using plasma therapy, it could be considered a good lead.
"Plasma therapy is an old technique which is being used for decades. As we don't have a cure for coronavirus, it is useful for serious COVID-19 patients," he said.
Sarin said donating plasma would be an act of patriotism by recovered patients. It does not lead to any weakness in the body of the donor, he said.
"It is not blood donation...Plasma therapy is also inexpensive," he said.
Kejriwal said people who have fully recovered from coronavirus would be saving lives of people by donating their plasma.
"In the plasma therapy, donor plays an important role. Plasma is extracted from their blood as our doctors often do in case of dengue patients.
"I appeal to you (who have recovered from COVID-19) with folded hands to come forward and donate your plasma. Your plasma will be given to only serious patients. You can save their lives,'' he said.
On Thursday, the total number of coronavirus cases in the nation stood at 2,376, with 128 new cases and two fresh deaths being reported in a day.
Of the total number of 50 fatalities reported till Thursday, 27 of the deceased were aged 60 years and above, constituting over 52 percent of fatalities.