KARACHI: Eminent hematologist, Dr Saqib Ansari, recently announced that the first coronavirus patient in Pakistan, Yahya Jaffery, had donated his plasma to the Children’s Hospital Karachi to help treat COVID-19 patients in critical condition.
He announced this while addressing a press conference along with Yahya Jaffery, his parents, and cricketer Roman Raees, at the Children’s Hospital Karachi.
Dr Saqib Ansari demanded the government for a go-ahead to use the plasma for the treatment of the patients.
“We need no funds, new machinery or workforce as the Children’s Hospital Karachi is ready to offer its services free of cost,” said Dr Ansari while talking about recent advancements made for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
He said that the process of acquiring and processing plasma costs Rs20000 each, and the hospital is ready to bear that cost for the betterment of humanity. Dr Ansari said that currently, his team is working on three fronts to handle the coronavirus pandemic: controlling the outbreak, treating the patients, and reducing panic in society.
He termed Jaffery a hero of the nation and paid a rich tribute to his parents for their courage in the face of the epidemic. Talking about recent advancements, he said that the plasma of those recovered patients affected by the virus in the past is being used in several parts of the developed world in combination with several antibiotics and other therapies.
Based on the results of the latest study in Beijing, in collaboration with the world’s leading research institutes, he said that plasma infusion in critical patients of coronavirus had yielded excellent results.
Referring to the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) of the United States, the World Health Organization, and other reputable institutions, he said that the method is being used across the world for the treatment of critical COVID-19 patients. He highlighted the example of the US, where the FDA has publically appealed to recovered patients of the coronavirus to donate their plasma.
“The Children’s Hospital Karachi and Houston Methodist Hospital of the US are already collaborating with each other in this regard,” he said, adding that Dr Fazal Mahmood of the Houston Methodist Hospital is in touch with Dr Ansari and both are closely monitoring developments across the world concerning the virus.
Dr Ansari added that the therapy is only being applied to critical patients of the virus. Almost 90% of the affected people can recover using this method without being admitted to intensive care units, and only a thin fraction of the coronavirus patients are being admitted to the ICUs. Such patients can be administered the plasma. Medical experts believe that the therapy will produce positive results, Dr Ansari added.
To date, 94 coronavirus patients in Pakistan have recovered and out of which almost half are women. He added that due to the possibility of complications, plasma donations are usually not taken from women. He made it clear that recovered patients in the age bracket of 18 to 50 can safely donate their plasma, which can be used for the treatment of critical coronavirus patients. Plasma donation from a recovered patient is sufficient for the treatment of a critically ill victim of the coronavirus.
“Subjected to permission from the authorities, the Children’s Hospital Karachi is capable of receiving plasma from all recovered patients of the virus in Pakistan and processing the donated plasma within five days,” he offered.
He added that the necessary procedure for processing plasma could be carried out by the same machines used for the treatment of dengue patients. He said that the facility and required workforce is already available in almost all public and private hospitals. All they need is basic training for the process, he added.
Yahya Jaffery, who is the first patient to have recovered from the coronavirus in Pakistan, in his message to the nation, said, “In the near future, the virus will become history and all that will be remembered is our resolve and determination.”
Famous cricketer, Roman Rais, also addressed the press and assured Dr Ansari of his cooperation against the coronavirus.
He appealed to his fans and the nation to have patience, stay at home, and stay safe. Jaffery’s parents also addressed the nation and appealed to fellow countrymen to stand united against the coronavirus threat.