plasma covid
Image Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: India's first 'plasma bank', the Delhi Plasma Bank which was established at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) here in collaboration with the Delhi government, is now operational.

Patients who have recently recovered from COVID-19 are eligible to donate plasma.

"The only purpose of this bank is to provide plasma to all the hospitals in Delhi. I used to receive calls on a regular basis if we could provide plasma or not. Earlier there were no facilities, but now, it is possible with the setting up of this bank," Dr Anita, incharge, Delhi Plasma Bank told ANI.

"In order to donate, it is important that the donor has one report stating that he was tested positive for COVID-19 and the donor should have recovered from the disease for at least 14 days," she further added.

"Whenever the donor comes, they are counselled first about the procedure and all their concerns are addressed. Once fit, the donor's blood sample is collected, veins are checked and then we check the blood pressure and temperature," she said.

The patient is then asked to rest and then the sample is screened and once after the testing the donor is fit, the plasma donation process begins, she added.

"The entire process -- from the point of entry -- takes about two hours but the procedure on the machine, takes about a half-hour," she said.

One donor provides close to 500 ml of plasma which could be helpful for two patients, and the plasma can be preserved for at least a year, she said.

"I always wanted to contribute in the fight against coronavirus and I am grateful that my family members were very supportive. My mother also encouraged me to do so. We cannot wait for a cure," Rohan, a donor, told ANI.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Thursday inaugurated country's first 'Plasma Bank', via video conference, and urged people to come forward and donate plasma.

"If you have recovered from COVID-19 and your age is between 18 and 60 and your weight is above 50 kg, then you may donate plasma for COVID-19 patients. However, women who have given birth or the persons with comorbidities, are not eligible to donate plasma," the Chief Minister had said.

"If you are eligible and willing to donate plasma, then you may call us at 1031 or you can WhatsApp us at 8800007722. Our doctors will then get in touch with you to further confirm your eligibility," he added.

The national capital has a total of 97,200 COVID-19 cases including 68,256 recovered cases and 25,940 active cases, as per the last bulletin of the Delhi Health Department.