(Eds: Adds details) Mumbai, Jun 29 (PTI) Struggling to contain COVID-19 fatalities, the Maharashtra government has come up with the convalescent plasma therapy-cum-trial project for treatment of critical patients with a state medical education official calling it the largest initiative of its kind in the world.
The project was formally launched on Monday by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Convalescent plasma therapy, also called passive antibody therapy, seeks to obtain plasma from the blood of people who have recovered from the coronavirus infection to inject into patients undergoing treatment.
'The project, titled 'Platina', is the largest convalescent plasma therapy-cum-trial project in the world.
With it, we intend to save lives of some 500 critical COVID-19 patients. The trial will be held in 17 medical colleges under the department of medical education and drugs, and four BMC- run colleges in Mumbai,' the official said.
All critical patients will receive two doses of 200 ml convalescent plasma free of cost, he added.
As of June 29, Maharashtra has reported 7,610 COVID-19 deaths with the mortality rate of 4.48%. The number of coronavirus cases in the state stands at 1,69,883.
The official said this trial will help formulate definite treatment guidelines for the entire country in treating serious patients and thus become a milestone in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
'We also intend to take this study further and isolate MONOCLONAL antibodies developed against COVID (virus) from plasma. We will study its structure and possibly produce it in an artificial form,' said the official.
As a collateral benefit, this will create an infrastructure of plasmapheresis in all medical colleges in various districts of Maharashtra which will cater to collection of FFP (Fresh Frozen Plasma), SDP (Singer Donor Platelets) in treatment of dengue etc. and also in GBS, snake bites, he said.
Plasmapheresis is a process in which the liquid part of the blood, or plasma, is separated from the blood cells.
Typically, the plasma is replaced with another solution such as saline or albumin, or the plasma is treated and then returned to body.
Thackeray has allocated Rs 16.65 crore for this project-cum-clinical trial from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, he said.
'This will be a government-sponsored trial and no private or financial involvement from any company is there, which is unique in itself,' the official said.
Maharashtra is now commencing clinical trials and will start collecting collecting plasma from eligible donors.
'COVID-19 Plasma Banks in 13 centres are also inaugurated,' he said.
Maharashtra is currently allowing emergency authorisation of convalescent plasma therapy in mild and moderate cases in dedicated COVID-19 hospitals run by the government, private and charitable trusts, he said.
'This is a huge project cum research trial which has (received) all the necessary approvals,' he said.
The whole process of planning, securing clearances and setting up dedicated COVID19 plasma banks completed in 21 days, the official added. PTI ND BNM RSY NSK NSK