Dr Harsh Vardhan, union minister of Health and Family Welfare, flagged off a plasma donation campaign at AIIMS Delhi on 19 July 2020. The event was co-organized by Delhi Police, where 26 police personnel who had recovered from Covid volunteered to donate their blood plasma.
Expressing his gratitude to the Delhi Police for this initiative, he said, “It is unfortunate that a dozen Delhi police personnel died due to Corona. Despite these casualties, they are doing a great job deploying personnel to contain the spread, while the number of containment zones has jumped from 200 to 600.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan saluted the contribution of these volunteers by conferring certificates to 26 Police constables. Of these, Om Prakash was donating his plasma for the third time. The union minister stated that these donations would have a long-lasting impact on other countrymen who will get inspired to donate their plasma. Every single donor counts in our journey towards victory over Covid-19, and we need more and more of these plasma warriors to help fight the pandemic till a definitive treatment or vaccine is developed, he added.
He acknowledged the huge potential of this strategy and the government’s will to tap into it. He commented, “As of now, convalescent plasma therapy has been approved for compassionate use with various plasma banks being set up to ensure round the clock availability. Although India has one of the highest cure rates amongst Covid-19 patients, the plasma donations have yet to pick up. I am happy that AIIMS, New Delhi, is organizing this plasma donation campaign with the support of Delhi police corona warriors.”
Fondly remembering the Delhi police’s contribution as an integral part of the success of the pulse polio campaign in 1994, Dr Vardhan stated that tens of thousands of police constables joined the Abhiyaan and created a huge awareness drive. The 100-phone number was also dedicated to this cause, he reminisced.
Plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients contains protective antibodies to the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. It can provide immunity to patients of Covid-19 when transfused. Considering its potential benefit, plasma therapy is provided to those patients who do not respond to conventional treatment. Anyone who has recovered from Covid-19, and has completed 28 days after the completion of treatment or home isolation, is between 18 to 60 years of age with a weight of more than 50 kg is eligible to donate their blood plasma. The blood bank will assess their eligibility for blood donation and check Covid-19 protective antibody levels in their blood before they can donate. The blood of a survivor usually has a high concentration of such antibodies. When given to a susceptible person, these antibodies circulate in the blood, reach tissues, and neutralize it. The donation process is completed in one to three hours, and plasma can be collected on the same day.