Govt nod sought for Covid-19 treatment through plasma immunisation

Updated March 29, 2020

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Doctors at the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Khyber Paktunkhwa have asked the government for permission to use plasma immunisation to treat Covid-19 patients. —File
Doctors at the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Khyber Paktunkhwa have asked the government for permission to use plasma immunisation to treat Covid-19 patients. —File

PESHAWAR: With eight new coronavirus cases taking Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s tally to 188 on Saturday, a major medical teaching institution of Peshawar has asked the government to notify the Provincial Plasma Immunisation Committee to ensure the treatment of the critically-ill Covid-2019 patients by passive immunisation method.

According to Hayatabad Medical Complex medical director Prof Shehzad Akbar Khan, the method, which uses plasma from the confirmed coronavirus cases after their recovery, will help stem the outbreak of the virus.

Prof Shehzad Akbar Khan requested the provincial health secretary in a letter to approve the constitution of a five-member committee in accordance with a proposal made by chairman of the National Passive Immunisation Committee at the National Institute of Blood Diseases Prof Tahir Shamsi and approval granted by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat the patients with plasma extracted from blood of patients, who fully recover from the disease.

The letter seen by Dawn said the committees of the relevant clinical experts had been formed in Sindh and Punjab on the method.

It said the KP health department should notify the proposed committee to be headed by Prof Shah Taj Khan of the HMC hematology department and comprising Prof Fazle Raziq of the Rehman Medical Institute, Prof Khalid Khan and Prof Usman Khattak of the HMC, and Dr Hamida Qureshi of the North West General Hospital to start work.

Eight new cases take KP’s tally to 188

A member of the proposed committee told Dawn that Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and Prof Shamsi were aggressively advocating the use of the plasma of coronavirus patients for the treatment of newly-confirmed patients.

“This has been successfully done in China and New York. The plasma has no side effects on patients but the selection of patients who we will get it from is a scientific process and not all those recovering from the disease are fit for it,” he said.

The expert said the method could be used in all hospitals but that would happen only after the government approved the proposal without delay.

He said passive immunisation was the only way to save the lives of the patients of Covid-19, which had so far claimed three people in the province.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Association has begun collaboration with the Yong Doctors Association to advise patients by telephone at home during lockdown as a precautionary measure against Covid-2019.

The association said patients could consult around 20 different specialists by dialing 03111333699, the number, which could be used by dozens of patients simultaneously.

It said during the last two days, over 2,000 patients had been entrained through the initiative.

“We are increasing the number of centres. Patients have been told not to come out of their homes unnecessarily as part of strategy to prevent Covid-2019, which entails less mortality but spreads very fast,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, four more residents of Totali and Dagar tehsils in Buner district tested positive for the virus taking the overall tally of the region to seven.

The deputy commissioner quoted the health officials as confirming new cases and said the samples taken from those cases were tested at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Health Reference Laboratory of the Khyber Medical University, Peshawar.

He said one confirmed case had been kept in an isolation ward at the Daggar district headquarters hospital, while the other three were shifted there after the detection of infection.

The deputy commissioner said the villages, where the cases were reported, had been put under lockdown, while residents were told to observe self-quarantine at home.

He said the close family members of the confirmed cases and those with coronavirus symptoms were shifted to isolation centres, while the samples taken from them were sent for Covid-19 test.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Swat district reached three on Saturday.

Dr Syed Rahmat Ali of the DHO office said a family, which returned from New Zealand lately, was quarantined in own house as a female member tested positive for the virus.

“All others have been cleared,” he said adding that the confirmed cases had been kept in isolation.

The official said the area had been sealed.

He said suspected cases totalled 36 and 13 of them had tested negative for the virus and three positive, while the results of the tests of the rest were awaited.

Abbottabad recorded three coronavirus cases, including a retired army major, on Saturday.

According to the control room of the local administration, the retired major had hosted members of a Tablighi Jamaat from Turkmenistan in his house two weeks ago and stayed with them in a local mosque.

He was admitted to the Combined Military Hospital, Abbottabad, three days ago after he complained about dry cough.

The administration and police visited his house along with a team of the Water and Sanitation Services Company and got the house and surrounding area disinfected.

The areas, where the confirmed cases were reported, were placed under lockdown.

Kohat district reported three new confirmed coronavirus cases taking the tally to five.

The new cases were members of Tableeghi Jamaat.

They’re brought back by the administration from Darra Adamkhel after they tested positive for Covid-19. They’re relieved by the doctors of KDA Hospital, Kohat, from the quarantine ward before the arrival of their test reports.

The administration closed the Kohat Tableeghee Markaz for hosting those cases from March 16 to March 19.

The people, who visited or stayed at the place, during that period, were told to get themselves screened for coronavirus.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2020