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Pakistan hospitals begin plasma therapy trial as first COVID-19 patient fully recovers

News Agencies | Updated on: 11 May 2020, 15:21 IST
plasma therapy

Pakistan's top haematologist said that three hospitals in the country have started clinical trials for passive immunisation with the support of the National Institute of Blood Disease (NIBD) to treat the Covid-19 patients.

The NIBD head, Dr Tahir Shamsi, told The Express Tribune on Sunday that five more hospitals across the country have also sought the Drug Regulatory of Pakistan (Drap) nod to conduct the clinical trials for passive immunisation.

Last month, Drap had granted approval for a passive immunisation under which the blood plasma is infused to coronavirus patients to help their immune system to fight off the highly-contagious disease.

Convalescent plasma taken from a recovered Covid-19 patient is believed to be rich in the antibodies needed to cure the deadly infection.

The technique is used when there is a high risk of infection and insufficient time for the body to develop its own immune response or to reduce the symptoms of ongoing or immunosuppressive diseases.

Pakistani doctors on Saturday claimed a successful clinical trial of passive immunization after a coronavirus patient recovered through plasma therapy.

Shamsi said that the country's first Covid-19 patient was fully recovered from the mysterious illness within seven days and tested negative for the novel coronavirus after he was treated through plasma therapy.

The NIBD chief also said more than one dozen Covid-19 patients in Karachi are being treated through plasma therapy and three medical facilities in other parts of the country are also allowed to use the similar technique, which is also approved registered by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to treat Covid-19 patients.

Shamsi was the first medical expert in the country who had proposed the technique to the government authorities for the treatment of Covid-19 following the pandemic outbreak.

According to the NIBD research team, no evidence of reinfection found in the recovered coronavirus patients after they donated their blood.

Shamsi also warned that the number of Covid-19 cases could cross 80,000 mark and the medical facilities in the country could get overwhelmed by the end of May.

Currently, the nationwide tally of Covid-19 patients stands at 30,941. The virus has claimed at least 667 lives while at least 8,212 coronavirus patients have recovered.


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First published: 11 May 2020, 15:21 IST