Friday, July 3, 2020 | ePaper

If plasma therapy is hopeful against Covid-19, experts should say so

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MEDICAL experts have urged the government to undertake a national programme to expand the scope of providing plasma therapy for treating Covid-19 patients as the method has been gaining traction for its effectiveness. The technical sub-committee on Covid-19 diagnosis and laboratory observed that there is a huge demand for the therapy and recommended that the government should take action so that the people can have better access to the treatment. The committee said public and private hospitals with necessary equipment can collect plasma and administer the therapy. But there should be a regulatory body to guide and monitor the whole process.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended against using plasma therapy for the treatment of Covid-19. In its latest guidelines titled "Clinical management of Covid-19: interim guidance" issued on May 27 it has not recommended it. Blood or plasma from recovered patients has been tried as a therapy since at least the Spanish flu of 1918; reports from that pandemic suggest it helped. It has also been used to fight measles, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and lesser-known diseases such as Argentine hemorrhagic fever. In a 1970s study of 188 patients with that disease, only 1% of plasma recipients died, versus 16.5% in a control group.
In Bangladesh, some physicians said that convalescent plasma therapy can quickly develop a passive immune system in a patient's body which helps the person to fight against the virus. Medical scientists in the US and China, as well as other countries, have found that those who recover from Covid-19 develop a neutralising antibody in their plasma. This antibody, if transfused into an infected person, can destroy the virus. In a country like Bangladesh, this therapy is really important to save lives as plasma is free of cost whereas the drugs being developed to treat Covid-19 could be too expensive for the poor.
Our medical experts made their position clear. We are in favour of the notion that our experts hold press conferences regularly to guide us. TV talk shows are good for debates. But we need clear cut guidelines from medical experts. We all known the efficiency of the government naming them will not improve anything. All the factors of good governance are missing. So we have been urging our competent persons to come out to help our people. Our inactivity have caused miseries to our people.

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