According to a report on the effectiveness of plasma therapy for Coronavirus patients in Pakistan, 92% critical COVID-19 patients during the ongoing pandemic have been saved from being shifted to ventilators because of the convalescent plasma immunization therapy.
Moreover, 80% of moderate Coronavirus cases started showing signs of recovery 48 hours after administered convalescent plasma therapy.
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Patients who received convalescent plasma within 5 days after testing positive for Coronavirus recovered faster than those who received it after 7 days.
The report has recommended that moderate and critical COVID-19 patients should be administered the convalescent plasma immunization therapy as it has proven as a life-saving supportive treatment in the absence of an effective cure or vaccine of the Coronavirus.
The report on the effectiveness of the convalescent plasma immunization therapy has been submitted to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). The regulator is expected to publish the report in the next couple of weeks.
In April, DRAP had approved to investigate the effectiveness of plasma therapy after Dr. Tahir Shamsi, head of the National Institute of Blood Diseases (NIBD) Karachi, in March had suggested that the technique could save thousands of lives in Pakistan.
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The DRAP-sanctioned clinical trials were held simultaneously at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) Peshawar, University of Health Sciences Lahore, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) Jamshoro, Rawalpindi Medical College (RMU) Rawalpindi, and NIBD Karachi.
Around 400 COVID-19 patients aged between 29 to 92 years who had made a complete recovery donated their plasma at these five centers. Of those, 77.8% were males and 22.2% females.
During the study, 357 moderately severe, severe, and critical Coronavirus patients, after establishing their eligibility according to the criteria provided by DRAP, were administered convalescent plasma immunization therapy either alone or in conjunction with other experimental drugs.
Of those, 30% were identified as moderately severe, 68% as severe, and 2% as critical Coronavirus patients.
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72% of patients received only convalescent plasma immunization therapy during the trials. 10% of patients were administered plasma therapy along with Tocilizumab while 18% received plasma therapy with Remdesivir. None of the patients exhibited adverse reactions during the clinical trials.
After receiving plasma therapy, oxygen saturation levels of 80% of patients increased to 95% from 80% within 72 hours. 92% of patients were prevented from being shifted to ventilators as 80% of them exhibited signs of recovery during 48 hours.
Around 20% of patients died during the trials due to comorbidities. Of those, 8% died of cardiac arrest, another 8% died of multiple organ failure due to cytokine storm, and 4% died of ventilator related complications.