SKIMS becomes first hospital in Kashmir to start plasma therapy

J&K Govt bans private practice by all SKIMS medical professionals
SKIMS, Srinagar (File)

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): In a major achievement, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura, a COVID designated hospital in Srinagar, has conducted its first successful plasma therapy for the virus affected patients.

The hospital started Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) for critically sick patients as one of the modalities of supportive treatment of the deadly infection, approved by Centre as well as the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

Dr. Sajad Bhat, a 3rd year Post Graduate resident from General Medicine department—who recovered from the illness after he was tested positive, was the first one to donate plasma for the noble cause at SKIMS. The procedure was conducted in collaboration with the Blood Transfusion & Immuno-Hematology Department.

Professor Farooq Jan, Medical Superintendent at SKIMS said that they have started Plasma Therapy on a trial basis. “We have given it to three patients,” he said. Dr Jan said that the mode of treatment is being enhanced and more and more manpower is being adjusted for this service, based on the clinical judgment and the status of the patients in need of such treatment.

He further added that they are procuring more equipment required for the therapy, which is expected to arrive next week. Asked whether the therapy will be useful or not, he said that it is premature to say anything as of now as the patients who were given the therapy, will tell the impact themselves.

“Hopefully, this will prove useful as we have seen in different countries including that this therapy has shown promising results,” he said. “This treatment in itself has some advantages, though very little disadvantages. But it has to be carried out meticulously. The staff is being trained for this service.”

Director, SKIMS, Dr AG Ahanger has lauded the therapy team for their efforts while saying that SKIMS will touch new heights in medical research and interventional medicine.

Pertinently, a high-level committee headed by Dr Muhammad Sultan Khuroo, an 80-year-old medical expert in epidemiology, which was constituted on June 15, has also recommended to the higher-ups to start plasma therapy in J&K.

“Plasma method has a simple premise. The blood of people who have recovered from an infection contains antibodies. The antibodies are molecules that have learned to recognise and fight the pathogens, such as viruses, that have caused disease,” said a doctor at SKIMS.

He said that doctors can separate plasma, one of the blood components that contain such antibodies, and administer it to patients whose bodies are currently fighting the infectious disease. “This can help their immune systems reject the pathogen more efficiently,” he added.