Delhi’s second plasma bank inaugurated at LNJP hospital

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday morning inaugurated the national capital’s second convalescent plasma bank at the 2,000-bed Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP), the city’s biggest healthcare facility for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients.

Earlier on July 2, the Delhi government had opened its first convalescent plasma bank at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj.

The third convalescent plasma bank is in the works at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, the biggest healthcare centre in the trans-Yamuna area and has been converted into a dedicated Covid-19 hospital amid the viral outbreak.

“Lok Nayak Hospital has started plasma collection. The first plasma bank in Delhi was at ILBS. Till the time a vaccine is developed, plasma is helpful in saving precious lives. It may not save 100% of the Covid-19 patients, but it can save some lives. It also had a role in reducing Delhi’s Covid-19 related death rate as well. Lok Nayak Hospital is located in the centre of the city. It will be easier for the public to get to the hospital and donate plasma,” said Kejriwal at the hospital on Tuesday morning.

The hospital has set up an apheresis machine, which is used to separate the blood components. The collection of plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients has started, hospital authorities said. Over 3,600 Covid-19 patients have recovered from the viral infection and have been discharged from the hospital to date and many of them are eligible to donate plasma.

“The plasmapheresis machine has been set up and we have started collecting plasma from recovered patients. We will be able to start banking it soon,” said Dr. Suresh Kumar, medical director, Lok Nayak Hospital.

Convalescent plasma therapy uses the blood component plasma — rich in virus-fighting antibodies from patients who have recovered from the infection — to aid the immune system of Covid-19 patients.

It is still an experimental therapy that has been approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH&FW) for use in Covid-19 patients, whose need for oxygen increases despite being on oxygen support and steroids.

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