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Pakistan’s first COVID-19 patient donates plasma for treatment

KARACHI: A man who was identified as the first COVID-19 – the novel strain of the coronavirus – patient in the country and later went on to make a full recovery has donated his plasma to help other patients in the treatment of the disease.
Yahya Jafri, aged 22, was confirmed as the first case of the coronavirus on February 26 in Karachi after he returned from Iran. He had tested positive for the novel coronavirus but went on to make a full recovery at a local hospital. The young man has now donated his plasma to Children Hospital Karachi for the treatment of critical patients of the virus.
Upon approval of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the plasma will be transfused into critically-ill coronavirus patients to boost their immune system and help them recover from the disease.
Addressing a press briefing on Thursday, renowned hematologist Dr Saqib Anasri urged the government for a go-ahead to use the plasma for the treatment of the patients. Dr Ansari said the young man and his family have also donated blood and should be appreciated. He termed Jaffery as a hero of the nation and paid a rich tribute to his parents for their courage and resolve against the epidemic.
“We need no funds, new machinery or workforce as Children’s Hospital Karachi is ready to offer its services free of cost,” the seasoned hematologist said regarding the recent advancement in the treatment of coronavirus patients.
Dr Ansari said that the process of acquiring and processing the plasma cost Rs20,000 each and the hospital is ready to bear the cost for the betterment of humanity. He said his team is working on three fronts to handle the coronavirus pandemic – limit the outbreak, treatment of patients, and controlling panic in society.
Talking about the recent advancement, he said that along with several antibiotics and other therapies, the plasma of those recovered patients affected by the virus in the past is being used in several parts of the developed world. Based on the latest study in Beijing in collaboration of the world’s leading research institutes, he said that the plasma infusion in critical patients of Coronavirus has yielded excellent results.
Referring to the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) of the United States, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other reputable institutions, he said that the method is being used across the world for the treatment of critical patients of the disease. He highlighted the example of the US where the FDA has publically appealed recovered coronavirus patients to donate their plasma.
Dr Ansari said that the therapy is only being applied to critical patients of the virus. He said almost ninety percent of the affected people get recovered without being admitted to intensive care units (ICU). He said such critical patients can be administrated the plasma and medical experts believe that the therapy will produce positive results.
He added that due to the possibility of some complications, plasma donation is usually not taken from women. He clarified that recovered patients between 18 to 50 years can safely donate plasma which can be used for the treatment of critical patients of Coronavirus. Plasma donation from a recovered patient is sufficient for the treatment of a critically ill victim of coronavirus, he said.
He further added that the required procedure for processing plasma can be carried out by those machines use for the same process for the treatment of dengue patients. He added that the facility and required workforce is already available in almost public and private hospitals.
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