Hours after Maharashtra Health Minister said that the first plasma therapy on a COVID-19 patient in the state was successful, the patient died in a Mumbai hospital yesterday.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had announced that the first experiment of plasma therapy for Coronavirus treatment in the state was successful. He had informed that the treatment on a 53-year-old patient in Lilavati hospital had succeeded, and a second patient in NYL Nair hospital was being given the same treatment.
But the patient succumbed to Wuhan Coronavirus infection on Wednesday night, raising doubt over the efficacy of the plasma therapy. The male patient was in critical condition for the last several days and was under ventilation in the ICU of the Lilavati Hospital.
The patient was admitted to the hospital on 20th April after his swab test done on the previous day tested positive for Coronavirus. Because the patient had delayed getting tested despite having symptoms, by the time he was admitted, his condition had already deteriorated. As he was having acute respiratory distress syndrome, he was immediately put on ventilation in ICU.
On April 25, the hospital performed the first convalescent plasma therapy on the patient after obtaining necessary approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). On that day, 200 ml of plasma was transfused. Although his oxygen intake had improved after the infusion, his condition started deteriorating on 27th April. He also caught infections and was administered high doses of antibiotics. Due to this condition, the planned next two doses of plasma could not be given to him, and the patient died on Wednesday night.
The plasma therapy involves transfusing plasma obtained from a person who has recovered from Coronavirus infection. The plasma is a component of blood, and it contains the antibodies developed by the body of the recovered person, which helps the strengthen the immune system of the patient.
At present, the effectiveness of plasma in treating COVID-19 has not been proven, and its use is still in an experimental state. On Tuesday the union health ministry had said that plasma therapy is still in experimental stage and is not a proven therapy. The ministry officials had said that the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is currently carrying out trials and trying to understand it better.