Plasma trials to begin today; project involves 17 blood banks

Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 07:43 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

First-of-its-kind, full-fledged state trial without the involvement of pharma companies will help critical patients, if successful

Aubrey Dhanraj, a plasma donor, at the newly opened centre in London. Pic/AFP
Aubrey Dhanraj, a plasma donor, at the newly opened centre in London. Pic/AFP

With all approvals in place, Project Platina, the state government's trial of testing plasma therapy as an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients, is set to begin from Monday. The project involves 17 blood banks.

These blood banks are part of government medical colleges. These will begin collection of plasma from recovered patients, and this trial will deal with patients displaying severe symptoms Senior state government officials said that the project, being funded by the state, will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday. "This is the largest trial being conducted in the country that will involve several hundred patients and 21 medical colleges including four from Mumbai. The plasma will be collected by 17 blood banks run by the government medical colleges and the trial will take three months to complete," said an official from the Directorate of Medical Education and Research.

Recovered COVID-19 patients can voluntarily walk into the blood banks and donate plasma. File pic/Suresh Karkera
Recovered COVID-19 patients can voluntarily walk into the blood banks and donate plasma. File pic/Suresh Karkera

The official added that the other ongoing trial by ICMR on plasma therapy deals with moderate symptoms while this trial will be the only one to deal with severe cases, to prove that this therapy is effective in such cases. "Unlike other treatment plans, this trial does not involve any pharmaceutical company. The collection of plasma in the blood banks is a continuous process and after the trial, if the results are favourable, the treatment can be opened to all and patients can be treated with plasma without wasting any time," he said. In the city, Nair, KEM, Cooper and Sion hospitals will be part of the trial, and it will be headed by officials from the Government Medical College of Nagpur.

The trial has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India this month and the software needed it has been developed. Once the collection begins, while medical colleges will reach out to patients who have recovered in the past, recovered COVID patients can voluntarily walk into the blood banks and donate plasma as well.

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