KARACHI: As the number of coronavirus patients keeps rising, a hope to cope with the challenge emerged here on Thursday when the first person who was reported positive on Feb 26 in the country and recovered a couple of weeks ago donated his plasma for treatment of critically-affected people through passive immunisation.
Speaking at a press conference the recovered patient of coronavirus, Yahya Jaffery, his parents and renowned haematologist Dr Saqib Ansari sought the government’s permission to proceed with the use of plasma for the treatment of patients.
“We need no funds, no machinery or workforce as our own hospital is ready to offer its services free of cost,” said Dr Ansari. “The process of acquiring and processing of the plasma costs Rs20,000 each and the hospital is ready to bear the cost for the good of humanity. Currently our team is working on three fronts to handle the coronavirus pandemic: limit the outbreak, treatment of patients and control panic in society.”
He lauded young Mr Jaffery and called him a “hero of the nation” and also praised his parents for their courage and resolve against the pandemic. Talking about the recent advancement, he said that with several antibiotics and other therapies, the plasma of those recovered patients affected by the virus in the past was being used in several parts of the developed world.
“Based on the latest study in Beijing in collaboration with the world’s leading research institutes, the plasma infusion in critical patients of coronavirus has yielded excellent results. The method is being used across the world for the treatment of critical patients of the disease and approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States, the World Health Organisation and other reputable institutions.”
‘The method is being used across the world for the treatment of critical patients’
He said his Children’s Hospital and Houston Methodist Hospital of the US were already collaborating with each other in that regard, and added that Dr Fazal Mahmood of the hospital in the US was in touch with Dr Ansari and both were closely monitoring the developments across the world regarding the virus.
The recovered Mr Jaffery also said that in the near future, the virus would become history and all that would be remembered was our resolve and determination.
“I advise people that please don’t get scared and panicked,” he said. “Please look at me. I suffered [from] this pandemic and recovered with the support of health workers, family and community. These three segments are key players to fight this pandemic. Please don’t treat patients as evil or criminal. They are among us and people like us. They need support of society and encouragement from the people.”
His parents thanked Dr Ansari and the health professionals along with society which helped them pass through this “traumatic experience”. They said that the family of Yahya was more worried due to a storm of false and fake news over different mediums though they never got worried about the health of their son, who had not felt any deterioration during those two weeks.
National cricketer Roman Rais also addressed the presser and assured Dr Ansari of his cooperation against the coronavirus. He hoped that the nation would defeat coronavirus the way it had met challenges in the past.
“As a national cricketer, I appeal to my fans and the nation to have patience, stay at home and stay safe. These are challenging times which demand unity and discipline under the motto [of] the founder of the nation,” he added.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2020