After conducting the first ever transfusion of plasma to treat a COVID-19 patient in late July, a Nepali hospital has treated five critically ill patients of COVID-19 with the plasma therapy so far.
“The result of the treatment on all five patients has been good with all either recovered or are recovering,” Dr. Santa Kumar Das, coordinator of COVID-19 Management Committee at Kathmandu-based Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, told Xinhua on Tuesday.
The first patient to be treated with this method was a 60-year-old man. He has already returned home after recovery, according to the hospital. “A critical ill doctor from Kathmandu-based Bir Hospital also returned home on Monday after recovery following the treatment with plasma therapy,” said Dr. Das.
According to him, the third patient is also in the process of being discharged as they are waiting the result of second test whether the patient has coronavirus. “Two other patients have also been recovering well after being treated with this method,” said Dr. Das.
Plasma therapy is the method of treatment under which plasma, found in the blood of a person who had recovered earlier from the same disease, is transfused into the blood of the new patient. It is not a universally accepted method of treating COVID-19 patients and is being used as a test case in many countries.
As the number of critical patients in Nepal has been growing along with resurgence in COVID-19 cases, the Nepali government has allowed 17 hospitals of the country to treat patients with the plasma therapy.
“Over two dozen COVID-19 patients have been treated with plasma therapy so far in different hospitals,” Dr. Meghnath Dhimal, chief research officer at Nepal Health Research Council, a government body, responsible for setting standards on health research, told Xinhua on Tuesday. “Many of the patients who were treated this method have either recovered or are recovering. Only a few patients died despite transfusion of plasma.”
The council is a government body, allowing the 17 hospitals to start treatment with plasma therapy. Dr. Dhimal said the overall result of plasma therapy used to treat COVID-19 patients has been encouraging even though the success rate is not 100 percent. “We have been able to save many lives with this method,” he said.
The council said it has been assessing results of plasma therapy based on treatment of the patients. “We will produce a report once the number of patients treated with this therapy reaches 100,” said Dr. Dhimal.
In recent days, the number of critically ill patients from COVID-19 is on the rise as the disease is spreading in clusters of communities.
As of Monday, there are 153 COVID-19 patients who are in intensive care units with some of them being kept with the support of ventilators, according to Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population.
The pandemic has killed over 160 people in Nepal while over 33,000 people have already been infected as of Tuesday, the ministry said.