October 21, 2021

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Soumitra gets second shot of plasma therapy

Kolkata: Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee received a second shot plasma therapy at Belle Vue Clinic, where he is under treatment for Covid encephalopathy. The 85-year-old remains breathless and is on intermittent oxygen support, and may have to be put on invasive airway protection.
According to hospital sources, he remained “restless, confused and barely arousable” throughout Sunday. He is also suffering from an EColi infection and intermittent fever.
Even though his cardiac function is normal, Chatterjee could soon be put through an “aggressive neuro assessment” to find out the cause of encephalopathy. He will also be treated for EColi infection and will undergo an MRI scan.

Chatterjee had tested positive for Covid last week and was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday. He was shifted to the ITU on Friday after developing breathing distress.

On Saturday, a unit of plasma was administered to him, which had led to marginal improvement in his condition. On Sunday, however, tests detected a secondary infection (EColi) and his breathing distress worsened. According to doctors, he barely remained awake throughout the day. Chatterjee received plasma therapy on the advice of state doctors who were asked by chief minister Mamata Banerjee to assist the Belle Vue medical board formed for Chatterjee’s treatment.

Meanwhile, though the plasma therapy was useful at a time when a spike in transmission has started, the response from plasma donors has been disappointing. “Nearly three lakh Covid patients have been discharged from hospitals in Bengal. Even if 1% of them donate plasma, we will have enough to save a lot of lives,” said Prasun Bhattacharya, head of the department of blood transfusion medicine and immuno haematology, MCH.

But the gap is wide. Bengal was the third state to start trials on plasma therapy. Starting in May, so far, only 130 Covid survivors have come forward to donate plasma. Of them, only 68 were eligible after 10-12 screenings. The health department has also sanctioned funds for equipment and additional rooms for plasma storage facilities.

However, an Indian Council of Medical Research study claimed that convalescent plasma therapy (CP) was not beneficial in reducing mortality among Covid patients. On June 27, the Union health ministry allowed the use of convalescent plasma (off label) for treating Covid patients who were in the moderate stage of the illness under ‘investigational therapies’. The clinical trial conducted by over two dozen doctors in Bengal recorded a reasonable success, said Bhattacharya.

“The plasma of the survivors is extracted through an apheresis process within 28-40 days of recovery. The donor must be below 55, weighing above 50kg and without co-morbidities. One person’s plasma can help two patients. Plasma recovery in the body happens fast by drinking a few glasses of water. The person can donate plasma again after 15 days,” said Durba Biswas, one of the doctors looking after the process.

Reported by – PTI
Reported on 12th October 2020

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