Plasma convalescent therapy includes the use of plasma donated by a COVID-19 recovered patient as the plasma contains antibodies against the virus Credit: Representational image

New Delhi: A 49-year-old man who became the first COVID-19 patient in India to be administered plasma therapy at Max Hospital in Saket, New Delhi, has made a full recovery, said reports.

He was the first patient to undergo the convalescent plasma therapy on compassionate grounds in the absence of any vaccine or cure for coronavirus. The patient was discharged with a promising prognosis on Sunday.

In convalescent plasma therapy, the antibodies of a person who has recovered from the virus are taken and transfused into a sick person (having the virus) to help boost the person’s immune system.

The patient from Delhi had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 4 and was admitted on the same day to the coronavirus facility at Max Hospital with moderate symptoms and a history of fever and respiratory issues.

“His condition deteriorated during the next few days and he soon required external oxygen to maintain saturation. He also developed pneumonia with Type I respiratory failure and had to be put on ventilator support on April 8,” the hospital had said in a statement last week.

When the patient showed no improvement, his family members requested the hospital to administer plasma therapy on compassionate grounds, a first-of-its-kind treatment modality that is being used for the disease in India.

“The family came forward to arrange a donor for extracting plasma. The donor had recovered from the infection (confirmed by two consecutive negative reports) three weeks ago and again tested COVID-19 negative at the time of donation along with other standard tests to rule out infections like Hep B, Hep C and HIV,” the hospital said.

The critically-ill patient was administered fresh plasma as a treatment modality as a side-line to the standard treatment protocols on the night of April 14, it added.

“After receiving the treatment, the patient showed progressive improvement and by the fourth day, he was weaned off ventilator support on the morning of April 18 and continued on supplementary oxygen thereafter,” the hospital added.

Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, group medical director, Max Healthcare, told The Quint, “We are delighted that the therapy worked well in his case, opening a new treatment opportunity during these challenging times. But it is important that we also understand that plasma therapy is no magic bullet.”

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