Dr Shami urges to donate plasma for COVID-19 patients
By Our Staff Reporter
LAHORE: Calling it a black day for the nation, Vice-Chancellor of University of Health Sciences (UHS) Prof Javed Akram said that people were left with no other option but to protect themselves by rigorously following the standard operating procedures to prevent the spread of infection.
He vehemently dispelled the common misconception that eventually everybody would fall a victim of the disease. “In any case, not more than 20 per cent people would contract the disease and of those only 5 to 7 per cent would fall seriously ill”, he said. Prof Javed Akram urged the physicians not to make haste in putting seriously ill coronavirus patients on a ventilator. “This must be the last option as 80 to 90 per cent of those patients put on ventilators would never come back”, he warned.
He expressed these views while addressing a media briefing along with National Institute of Blood Diseases’ (NIBD) head Dr Tahir Shamsi at UHS here on Wednesday. He said that more than a hundred people lost their lives due to the deadly virus in the last 24 hours, making it four deaths in one hour.
Expressing grave concerns on the rapid increase in the number of reported cases and deaths due to coronavirus in the country, the health experts have once again urged the public to stay home and adopt protective measures.
Prof Akram also stressed the need for trained manpower to manage ventilators and other equipment in the hospitals. He said that Pakistan needed to follow the precedent of China in order to save its healthcare workers from the virus.
“We need better standard protective equipment and necessary training for our front line workers otherwise they will continue to be infected “, he added.
Prof Tahir Shamsi said that convalescent plasma therapy was the safest method available and early use of plasma was recommended in COVID-19 patients who were in moderate to severe stage of the disease to prevent disease progression to a critical stage requiring a ventilator.
“We have treated two hundred patients by this procedure,” he said adding that in the absence of any proven therapy for COVID-19, and relative safety of convalescent plasma, it was recommended to be used widely in a current pandemic.
According to Shamsi, the therapy was not something new and had been used to cure patients of diseases like SARS, Ebola and influenza in the recent past.
Lamenting the poor response of the recovered patients with regards to the donation of plasma, he assured that plasma donation to COVID-19 patient was safe and secure procedure as the donors had to undergo multiple checks before donating their blood plasma.
Dr Shamsi said that plasma donation was so safe that a person could donate it four times with an interval of one week between each donation without feeling any weakness. He added that one plasma donation could save the lives of two patients.
Answering a question, UHS VC Prof Javed Akram said that as a health expert he would support the idea of imposing strict curfew of 15 days in the country to slow down the spread of the virus. However, he added, politically and economically it won’t be an easy decision for those at the helm of the affairs. He also urged the public not to rush for Covid-19 testing in panic and wait until any symptoms appeared.